Labor's Alison Byrnes will be the next Member of Parliament in Cunningham.
After spending 17 years working behind the scenes as part of retiring MP Sharon Bird's team since 2003, Ms Byrnes will take her former boss's spot.
Tonight, facing a sea of red shirts at Figtree Bowling Club, she said to her supporters: "As it stands, it looks like I'm going to be the next member for Cunningham."
Ms Byrnes said she is still feeling some of the after effects of a recent bout of COVID and said it has been a tough campaign.
"It was amazing to walk in there tonight an see all my friends, all my family, all of my supporters," she said.
"They've worked through COVID, they've worked through torrential rain, wind and it's been a really tough campaign. I've been working from dawn til dusk every single day," she added.
Despite her healthy 13.6 per cent margin going into the campaign, Ms Byrnes said she was not confident she would win until the results were called.
"I care about people, I care about jobs, I care about our planet and I'm a workaholic - I want to do my very best for the region to make sure vulnerable people get access to the services and support they need: NDIS, aged care, child care and home care," she said.
"We also need to make sure we set our region up for the homes of the future."
Ms Byrnes was introduced to Labor party supporters by her predecessor and mentor Sharon Bird, who Ms Byrne has been a great support in the lead up and during the campaign.
She was also supported by her husband MP Paul Scully who stood in the rain handing out flyers on Saturday until the very end of the day.
"I'm incredibly proud of the campaign she's run and of the commitment she's managed to secure for the Illawarra," he said.
While their household now contains both the state Member for Wollongong and federal Member for Cunningham, Ms Byrnes and Mr Scully both said they didn't expect too much to change due to Ms Byrnes' long term role in Sharon Bird's office.
"Alison and I have always had robust political conversations at home, so I don't think anything will change on that and we spend sitting weeks either in Canberra or Sydney already," Mr Scully said.
"But instead of Alison accompanying me to a lot of community events, we'll now both be there as MPs."
He noted that a federal MP outranked a state one in the constitution.
"She joins the ranks of less than 1200 people since federation who have served in the federal parliament and that's an extraordinary achievement for anyone," Mr Scully said.
"For someone who has had the career that she's had and has gone to uni later in life, her experience is incredible. The fact that she will be taking the commitment she showed as a member of Sharon's staff - well, I can't think of a better apprenticeship than the one she served."
"There was always talk that I might serve if the opportunity came up, but it's only been in the last couple of year that Alison thought she might have a look at it, and that's been through subtle hinting from Sharon about her capacity and capability - and she's demonstrated that in spades tonight."
The new Labor candidate grew up in Woonona in a family that struggled at times - her father was a coal miner who was in and out of work.
She can remember her mother serving lambs fry but telling the kids it was steak so they didn't know times were tough.
That upbringing had given her a sense of empathy when it comes to dealing with the problems and worries of Cunningham's constituents.
"I come from a background where my family did struggle and my dad did struggle to keep employment and the uncertainty that came with that," Ms Byrnes said.
"Watching your parents go through that does have an effect and it makes you want to look after other people a lot better and make sure they're not in that circumstance."
Ms Byrnes previously said she hadn't really entertained the idea of running, but Ms Bird kept suggesting it as an option over the years.
"You certainly don't start out thinking 'I'm going to take my boss' job' but Sharon definitely has encouraged a lot of women, including myself, to aim higher, to do their best," Ms Byrnes said.