Former legislator Tom Mims maintained an overpowering lead late Tuesday against Lakeland's first elected mayor in the Democratic primary for U.S. House District 12.
"It's looking very good," Mims said. "We've put an awful lot of work into it over the last eight months. We're looking forward to start moving toward the next campaign."
District 12 is a rural chunk of land that includes East Pasco and Hillsborough counties, Hardee and De Soto counties, most of Polk County and part of Highlands County.
Mims, a Lakeland accountant who has been self-employed for six years in development and real estate, is a two-term legislator who sponsored revamping the state's expungement law to prevent people convicted of certain crimes from hiding their criminal records.
Mims, 28, identifies the national health care crisis as "the No.
1 issue in this country," and predicts some sort of resolution to the problem to be reached by the new Congress.
He said that as a congressman, he would continue to advocate programs that help children and to help weed out abuses in the nation's food stamp program.
He was the apparent victor over Frank O'Reilly, a 57-year-old Lakeland accountant who has worked part-time for eight years as a Lakeland city commissioner and who has the distinction of becoming Lakeland's first elected mayor in January 1989.
In the November election, Mims will face Republican Charles Canady, who had no primary election opposition. Canady is a 38-year-old Lakeland lawyer who served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1984 to 1990.