LC Ballot Set, Maybe
Robinett Challenges Sims Eligibility

As the clock ticked down and with ten minutes left to the deadline to qualify for the November Lenoir City election, Lenoir City mayoral candidate Robert Robinett arrived at the Loudon County Election Commission office with documents that he claimed would prevent mayoral candidate, Joe Sims, from running for office. Robinett presented election commissioner, Dana Zehner with five pages of various Tennessee Codes that he stated were laws that would disqualify Sims.

Sims was convicted of one count of gambling, a felony, in early 1996. A felony conviction can cause the convicted person to lose their right to vote or run for office. However, Sims maintains that he had his citizenship rights restored nearly ten years ago. In 1999, Sims ran for a seat on the Lenoir City Council. At that time the question of his eligibility was first raised. Kathy Summers with the state election commission released a statement that reported that Sims had met all the requirements necessary and his rights had been restored on December 16, 1998 and that he was eligible to run for city council or any other elected city office. 

If Sims is eliminated from the mayor's race, that would leave Matt Brookshire, Robinett and Gary Aikens. Zehner, Loudon County Administrator of Elections, stated that the final decision on Sims eligibility would lie with the Loudon County Election Commission and the State Election Commission.

The Lenoir City Council race is shaping up to be a whopper with eight candidates running for three seats. Besides the three incumbents, Tony Aikens, James "Eddie" Simpson and Bobby Johnson Sr., five other candidates have qualified to run. These include James Brandon, Michel J. Long, Donald Pace, Jon Waliga and Alan Williams.

Lenoir City Council elections are "At Large" meaning that the three candidates who receive the highest vote totals will win the seats. Voters will be able to vote for three candidates.

The Lenoir City School Board election will see four candidates vying for the three seats up for grabs. Incumbents Mitch Ledbetter and Rick Chadwick will be joined by Glen Mcnish and Steve Shoemaker. As with the council race, the school board race is also "At Large" meaning that the three candidates who receive the highest vote totals will win the seats. Voters will be able to vote for three candidates.

In a surprising turn, Bobby Johnson Jr. is the sole candidate running for the Lenoir City Treasurer/Recorder position. With no opposition, Jr. automatically wins.

The liquor store referendum has until September 5th to have all petition signatures certified. According to election commission officials, the liquor leaders have submitted enough signatures to have the liquor store question included on the Lenoir City and Loudon County ballots. More on that later.

Any candidate wishing to withdraw has until August 28th to do so.

The election is November 4th. Early voting will be October 15-30.