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Wilbanks wins handily in Dacula

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

DACULA -- Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks won a third consecutive term, winning by nearly a two-to-one margin in one of four mayoral contests in Gwinnett Tuesday.

"I'm feeling good," Wilbanks said, as he celebrated his victory at the Stars and Strikes bowling alley.

Wilbanks got 260 votes to Betty Hale's 135, according to unofficial results.

Hale, who became a champion alongside Wilbanks in the recent fight to keep the city's library branch open, did not return a phone message Tuesday.

The widow of a former long-time council member, Hale challenged Wilbanks because of disagreements the mayor had with his county commissioner.

But Wilbanks said the results Tuesday show that people are happy with the city's direction, growing to become more of a job center.

"People want to see that continue," he said.

The election numbers were similar in a contested council race, where Councilman Greg Reeves was challenged by Gene Greeson, a former councilman seeking a comeback.

Reeves took 223 votes to Greeson's 166, according to the unofficial tally.

"I'm very happy, both for me and for the great citizens of Dacula," Reeves said, adding that his top goal is to steer the city through the tough economic times. "We've got to be fiscally conservative and look out for the people's money."

Councilman Wendell Holcombe was unopposed for re-election.