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Posted: July 21, 2010 12:08 a.m.

Sims defeats Simmons for District 2 seat

Challenger Lanier Sims defeated incumbent Earnest Simmons in Tuesday's Democratic primary for county commission District 2. Sims garnered a total of 55.5 percent of the 839 votes cast.

"It feels great. I'm really thankful to my parents, my wife, my sister and all the volunteers who dedicated all those evenings going door to door, sweating out there," Sims said.

When asked what he thought won over the voters, Sims said his down to earth approach.

"I was approachable and talked to the residents around their coffee tables. I'm not a politician; I guess you could say I'm a country boy," he said. "There will be no celebration tonight, we're only half-way there."

Sims will face Republican Rickie Corley in the Nov. 2 general election. Corley had no opposition Tuesday.

Sims, 35, owns two local businesses: Sims Excavating, a construction business he has owned since 1996, after taking it over from his father, and Southern Homes Unlimited, a business that helps residents facing foreclosure and other complicated real estate problems, which he co-owns with his wife, Bionca.

He said previously that his main priorities are being a more visible commissioner, helping his district avoid sprawl, bringing in businesses, improving traffic congestion and maintaining public safety.

He also said he supports allowing alcohol-by-the-drink sales in the county, as long as any ordinance encourages restaurants and prevents the formation of bars.

Sims holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from DeVry University. He has served on the Newton County Planning Commission for more than a year.

He is an active member in the Rotary Club, working with community service and fundraising projects, and the Miracle League Building Committee, which is working to bring a special needs baseball field to Newton County.

Simmons left the Board of Elections before the final results were announced.

"I can't believe this," he was heard repeating several times.

Simmons served one term as District 2 commissioner, after defeating Republican incumbent Ronnie Dimsdale in 2006.

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