ON Sunday, Councillor Neil Reilly described his Kiama election result as "a convincing and devastating loss".
But yesterday, preferences fell kindly for Cr Reilly, allowing him to scrape back on to the Kiama Municipal Council as the eighth of nine councillors elected.
Now he wants to be Kiama's next mayor.
In a further twist, Cr Reilly declared his re-election would also boost his campaign to be the next MP for Gilmore.
Cr Reilly was the only person to nominate for Labor Party preselection for the federal seat.
Current Gilmore MP and new Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash has faced nationwide scrutiny over her decision to hang on to her seat until the next federal election and serve as mayor at the same time.
But Cr Reilly said there was a difference between the two politicians.
"I would only have one job at a time ... if elected to Gilmore I would resign the mayoral job," he said.
However, he said he would stay as a councillor "and see how the workload goes".
Cr Reilly said earlier this week he was resigned to missing out on a council spot after his Community Voice ticket received just 7.5 per cent of first preference votes.
"The people of Kiama have been very generous to me with their preferences," he said.
As for whether he had the numbers in a potential showdown for mayor with the current Deputy Mayor Brian Petschler, Cr Reilly said: "I think so - but I have been wrong with numbers before."
Councillors are due to meet on September 25 to vote for the new mayor, although attempts have been made to bring the vote forward.
Cr Reilly said his reaction on Sunday was a result of "strong disappointment".
"I think there is a lack of public awareness as to some of the processes at council and the vote on the weekend reflected that."