Gordon Bradbery is “99.9 per cent” sure he’ll be re-elected as Lord Mayor but Labor’s David Brown wasn’t ready to concede on Monday afternoon.
As of 3pm on Monday, Cr Bradbery was ahead of Cr Brown by 8587 votes, with preferences and postal votes yet to be factored in.
“I think I’ve got a pretty commanding lead now, there’s no way of clawing that back,” Cr Bradbery said.
“The poll has to be formally declared but in the meantime I’m 99.9 per cent sure that I’m across the line, looking at the numbers.”
Cr Brown wasn't quite ready to concede yet – though he admitted it would be a “very difficult task” to claw back the votes he needed.
“While Gordon has a strong lead you don’t want to go off too early when there’s the preference votes of 40,000 voters to be counted, as well as the postal votes to come,” Cr Brown said.
“He’s got a strong lead and he’s strongly favoured to win but I’m not going to concede until I see a few more of those votes being counted.”
There are two councillor positions yet to be confirmed, though both candidates expect the eventual winners will be Labor’s Tania Brown and the Liberals’ Cameron Walters.
In Shellharbour, the mayor won't be known until September 26 when the council meets to make that decision.
It would be the last time that happens, given the resounding support on the weekend for the referendum question on letting the public vote for the mayor.
It was a move made at the behest of the now former mayor Marianne Saliba, with a view to returning things to the way they were before the council was sacked in 2008.
Cr Saliba said she planned to throw her hat in the ring for the job of mayor again at that meeting.
As of Monday afternoon, there were still three positions on council still to be decided, with Cr Saliba tipping the winners to come from a field of four – Labor’s Moira Hamilton, independents Tony Pratt and Peter Moran and Independent ALP member John Murray.
Cr Saliba found the election campaign a little unusual because Liberal MP Gareth Ward put himself front and centre in the campaign.
“It was certainly different to be going into a campaign where my opposition was a state MP,” she said.
Mr Ward said the result was the “second best” in history for the Liberals in the region, despite the likely loss of a position in Wollongong.
He said he was “delighted” the Labor party did not win a majority on either council “because it means all the various parties have to work together to get good results and good outcomes”.
“The message is, the election’s over now, it’s now time for people to get on with the job of working for their communities,” Mr Ward said.