Casey Anthony was easily the biggest story out of Orlando last year. The trial of a young mother accused of the death of her 2 year old daughter attracted national attention. Major networks set-up camp outside of the Orange County Courthouse. Reporters found their lives revolving around the case and lived in the first few rows of the courtroom. The country paused as the verdict was read and after Casey Anthony was found not guilty, it incited an anger that had mobs standing outside the courthouse doors. It prompted legislation in Tallahassee to prevent parents from delaying action after their children go missing. The outrage was evident and even long after Anthony was released, the verdict still affects those that were involved today.
The trial made reluctant public figures out of everyone involved. The witnesses, Judge Belvin Perry, and yes, all of the attorneys involved.
One of those attorneys, former prosecutor Jeff Ashton, retired immediately after the trial and wrote a bestseller. He hit all of the national talk shows and went on a event speaking tour. All to promote his book “Imperfect Justice”.
Now, he’s running for office and not just any office, Lawson Lamar’s State Attorney office.
Citing that voters need choices and that he sees the office through the eyes of a prosecutor, not a politician like his former boss, Ashton will formally declare for the race tomorrow. The Orlando Sentinel article is here.
His website is up and striking a pose that bunches up his post-prosecutor goatee, and a logo that reminds me of a Republican Party elephant, it appears that Ashton is ready to run.
He says that this race will not be about the Casey Anthony trial but, that’s either coy or naive. I’m going for the former. This is going to be known as the “Casey Anthony” race.
In fact, you can argue that Ashton already has higher name ID than Lawson Lamar. Don’t think so? Walk up to 100 people and ask them. “Do you know who Lawson Lamar is?” “No?”, “Do you know who Jeff Ashton is? “That’s right, the guy who spent 6 hours a day on your TV and got flipped off by a stranger in the gallery”.
In a Presidential election year, the casual voter will pick “The guy who tried to lock up Casey Anthony” over an incumbent, a lot of them won’t remember voting for.
Yes, there is a long way to go until the primary (both candidates are Democrats) but, as much as Ashton will deny it, the Casey Anthony trial will cast a shadow over his campaign.