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Nelmes, Fraser storm to victory in Local Government elections

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The popularity of Nuatali Nelmes and Kay Fraser knows no bounds after both women claimed victory in their respective NSW Local Government elections overnight.

With almost half of the 123,161 ballots counted, incumbent Newcastle Lord Mayor Nelmes (Labor) had surged into an unassailable position, securing 21,367 votes – or a whopping 41.2%.

Independent John Church could only muster 13,853, or 26.7%, as of 11pm on Saturday 4 December.

Then came daylight with The Greens’ John Mackenzie (8,176) and Liberal’s Jenny Barrie (5,758), followed by Independent Rod Holding and Socialist Alliance’s Steve O’Brien, who both failed to crack the 2,000 mark.

Cr Nelmes, on retaining her role, was quick to praise her supporters.

“Tonight’s result has seen the people of Newcastle strongly support our positive and progressive policies to continue to deliver for our City,” she posted on Facebook.

“Novocastrians have backed our vision for Newcastle and our approach to create and sustain more local jobs while delivering the infrastructure upgrades our community deserves.

“We’ve run a positive campaign on the back of sustainable and deliverable policies that will continue to drive our City forward.

“I’m so thankful the people of Newcastle have once again given me their trust and support as their Lord Mayor.

“I won’t let you down, Newcastle.”

Kay Fraser (second from right) easily retained her mayoral position at Lake Macquarie.

Cr Fraser (Labor) enjoyed an even bigger margin in the City of Lake Macquarie showdown.

The much-loved mayor collected more than 40,000 votes, or a massive 53.8%, way ahead of Liberal’s Jason Pauling (16,244 or 21.8%), Lake Mac Independents’ Luke Cubis (9,302 or 12.4%) and Independent Rosmairi Dawson (8,937 or 11.2%).

An immediate outcome, however, is unlikely at Port Stephens.

In one of the closest battles in the region, serving mayor Ryan Palmer (Independent) holds a narrow lead over Labor’s Leah Anderson.

With 23,025 of the votes tallied, the former has picked up 11,041, or 50.4%, with the latter securing 10,856 or 49.6%.

That result may not be known until later in the week.

It’s a similar situation at Maitland, which had seven people vying for the top job.

The latest figures show mayor Loretta Baker (Labor), with 9,773 or 33.2%, slightly in front of Philip Penfold (9,407 or 31.9%).

Liberal’s Ben Mitchell is next best with 4,484 (15.2%), with the remaining candidates – John Brown (The Greens), Michael Cooper (Independent), Brian Burke (Independent) and Shariar (Sean) Saffari (Independent) – barely making a ripple.

Labor’s Jay Suvaal appears likely to claim the reins from retiring Bob Pynsent at Cessnock.

He collected 5,998 of the 14,981 votes counted – or 42.3%.

Independent Ian Olsen also performed strongly, with 3,848 or 27.1%, while Liberal’s John Moores (2,593 or 18.3%) and The Greens’ Janet Murray (1,739 or 12.3%) could be proud of their efforts, too.

At Singleton, sitting mayor Sue Moore (Independent) holds all the cards with 2,118 or 37.6%.

But, Tony Jarrett (Labor) and Danny Thompson (Independent) weren’t disgraced either.

The pair snared 1,372 (24.4%) and 1,355 (24.1%) respectively.

Independent Belinda Charlton managed 784 or 13.9%, with scrutineers returning to the fray today.

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