Wollongong’s incumbent Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery all but claimed victory on Sunday afternoon, as he gained a more than 8000-vote lead over Labor’s David Brown.
The initially close contest – which is unlikely to be officially called until all preferences are distributed – delivered Cr Bradbery a primary vote of about 35 per cent by Sunday afternoon.
On par with his 2011 council result, this was enough to almost convince Cr Bradbery of his re-election.
“I think I’m pretty well home,” he said, as pre-poll votes rolled in.
“It will rely on postals to turn it around, and preferences, and I think it would have to be pretty disastrous preferencing.
“I’m optimistic that I’m there, and that I will be the Lord Mayor.”
Labor insiders and Kiama MP Gareth Ward also said they thought it was unlikely David Brown, who had a primary vote of 27 per cent on Sunday evening, would catch Cr Bradbery’s vote.
Once Cr Bradbery is declared elected, his votes in ward 3 – where he contested as a councillor – will flow to the second candidate on his ticket, Dom Figliomeni.
Cr Bradbery said he was looking forward to working with the former Port Kembla Port Corporation CEO.
He also said he was not worried about working with six Labor councillors, as predicted.
“In the last council, Labor councillors were prepared to vote in different ways, not just on block and I’m anticipating having a very good group of Labor councillors to work with,” he said.
“There’s a good gender mix, there’s no clear majority, people from diverse experiences and I think it’s going to be a very interesting council.
“We have a lot to get done and I’m pretty optimistic.”