Political newcomer Aramis Ayala is giving incumbent 9th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Jeff Ashton a run for the money in the race to represent the state in Orange and Osceola counties’ courts.

Ayala reported raising $11,140 in April, giving her a two-month haul of $26,240, with about half of that left over in the bank.

Ashton raised just $5,500 in April, giving him a four-month haul of about $33,575, and he has about $18,000 left in the bank.

Both are Democrats.

Ayala is a an Orlando lawyer and law professor and former assistant state attorney under Ashton who entered the race March 2 raising criticisms of Ashton’s organization of the office, and of news that broke last summer that Ashton was reported as a client in the scandalous AshleyMadison.com dating service that specializes in extramarital affairs.

Ashton rose to fame in 2010 and ’11 as the lead prosecutor in the infamous Casey Anthony murder trial. He lost that case but became the face for justice in Central Florida and defeated longtime incumbent Lawson Lamar in the 2012 Democratic primary.

They each have hired high-profile consultants. Ashton is going with Eric Foglesong‘s Focus Strategies, while Ayala has hired David Plotkin’s You Should Run.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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