District 4 candidates Henderson, Hunte headed to run off

COVINGTON — Voters took to the polls Tuesday to decide who would represent them on the Newton County Board of Commissioners making it a close race for challengers.

Lanier Sims rallied enough support from voters to move forward in the Board of Commissioners District 2 seat race. Sims received 58.32 percent of the vote against opponent Earnest Simmons, who received 41.68 percent of the vote.

“I hate to say I’m not surprised by the results. I’ve done a good job and kept citizens involved and really look forward to November,” Sims said in a phone interview Tuesday night. “I’ll kick up my campaign in full gear in mid-summer and look forward to going against Rickie Corley. At end of the day it’s about the people not what I want to do. I plan to get out and see what citizens want.”

The face-off is familiar between Sims and Simmons. Four years ago, it was Simmons who was the incumbent and Sims the challenger, and when Sims won the primary, he defeated Republican Rickie Corley in the November 2010 General Election.

“I’ll just keep trying and wish him luck in his future of politics,” Simmons said.

Sims will square off against Corley once again in the November General Election.

In a tight race, incumbent J.C. Henderson will face challenger Sonya Hunte in the runoff election on July 22 for the District 4 seat, based on preliminary voting results.

There will be no Republican opposition in the General Election in November and the winner of the runoff will earn the four-year term on the county commission.

Henderson has served the past 18 years as the District 4 representative and received 49.38 percent of the votes while Hunte received 30.78 votes.

“I’m going to continue to do what we’re doing,” Henderson said Tuesday at the Board of Elections office once the results came in. “I think we did pretty good. I went through a runoff in my early years and all I can do is do my best.”

One of Hunte’s goals as a commissioner is to establish a youth commission, which would instruct young citizens on developing “soft skills” while impressing upon them the importance of investing in their community.

Attempts to reach Hunte after the Tuesday results were received were not successful before press time.

Candidate Jacquelyn Smith, a support technician for AT&T in Conyers who is also an agent with Provision Realty, received 19.84 percent, a total of 256 votes out of 1,290 votes cast.

The results of the election remain incomplete and unofficial until they are certified on Friday, according to an official with the Board of Elections Office.