Labor's lord mayoral candidate for Wollongong, David Brown, conceded the election to incumbent Gordon Bradbery on Tuesday afternoon.
As the third day of counting began, 121,682 votes had been counted for the mayoral contest.
Cr Bradbery had received 40,707 votes, or 35.19 per cent, which put him 8,875 votes ahead before preference distribution.
While preferences from the Greens, and some independents, were thought to favour Labor, Cr Brown said he did not believe this would be enough for him to overtake Cr Bradbery.
'With the continued count and investigation of preferences, two things are obvious, I will increase my vote tally but not enough to overtake Gordon,” he said.
"I have called Gordon and congratulated him on his win and look forward to working with him and all the new and returning councillors to help guide the city's fortunes.”
“I'd like to thank all those many thousands of people who put their faith in me and the Labor team and pledge work hard over the next three years on behalf of all local residents.”
Final results for the election of councillors are likely to be known within the next two days, however, the Labor party looks certain to win five seats on the council.
A sixth looks likely but remains the closest race in Wollongong, with Labor’s Tania Brown and Liberal’s Michelle Blicavs separated by 403 votes.
Ms Brown is tipped by most to pick up the seat, but said her “fingers are still crossed that I get over the line and have the opportunity to make a contribution to this city”.
“I was the underdog going in, given the Liberal incumbents, so great to see that we have made a race of it, with strong support for the Labor team across the board,” she said.
Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has welcomed the likely make-up of the new council, saying that – despite a strong result – Labor will not have a clear majority on the council.
“If they want to get something across the line, they will have to work at convincing others,” he said, noting councillors had been happy to break party lines in the last term of council.
With six out of 13 votes, Labor is likely to have a strong influence over the election of the deputy mayor, which will be decided during an upcoming council meeting.