Jeff Ashton, the one-term state attorney for Orange and Osceola counties, has lost his re-election bid to a Democratic challenger.
- Jeff Ashton loses re-election to Aramis Ayala
- Ayala faces write-in candidate Bill Vose in November
Aramis Ayala beat Ashton, 57 percent to 43 percent on Tuesday night. She faces only a write-in candidate in November.
Ashton, best known as the prosecutor who tried the Casey Anthony murder trial, faced a tough re-election fight from both Ayala, a former prosecutor, and former assistant state attorney Bill Vose, an Ashton critic who is that write-in candidate.
In the final month of the campaign, Ayala got a cash infusion from the Florida Safety and Justice PAC, which paid for advertisements that attacked Ashton's record.
That PAC had ties to billionaire George Soros.
Ayala said at the time that she had never met Soros and knew nothing about the PAC.
On Tuesday night, Ayala said her focus would now be on addressing the needs of the community.
“My platform is adjusting as I’m hearing more of the community's concerns, because if you’re going to run to be the state attorney, you have to represent the people you serve," Ayala said.
"As I’m out in the community, I’m hearing more... It still remains integrity and domestic violence, it still remains consistency, those things I promised when I filed for office back in March."
Ashton issued this statement Tuesday night on his loss:
"The voters decided today that the price of the State Attorney's seat is $1.4 million in lies. I'm deeply disappointed in this result but I stand by the good work of my office and the folks who work there."
Vose's decision to run as a write-in candidate closed the primary to only Democrats. However, in November, Vose's name will not show up on the ballot. In order to cast a ballot for Vose, voters will need to write in his name. It means the main body of this race, Ashton vs. Ayala, was cut off from non-Democratic voters.