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Palmer prevails, Baker falls following tight mayoral races

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Independent Ryan Palmer has retained his mayoral position at Port Stephens… by the skin of his teeth.

Final counting in the NSW Local Government elections is now done and dusted, with the incumbent holding on in a tight two-horse race.

Mr Palmer finished with 24,187 votes, or 50.6%, just ahead of Labor’s Leah Anderson, who secured 23,620 or 49.4%.

“I am extremely honoured and truly grateful to the people of Port Stephens for putting their faith in me once again as mayor,” he said.

“We have achieved so much together.

“And, with more than a 15% increase in first preference votes from last election, the people of Port Stephens have shown they support a progressive and positive council.

“I look forward to working with you all.

“Thank you to everyone who supported me along the way and believed in what Port Stephens can achieve.

“There is a lot of work to do and that’s why I put my hand up once again.”

In a big shock, sitting mayor Loretta Baker lost her spot to Philip Penfold at Maitland.

Independent Mr Penfold picked up 18,569 votes, or 34.3%, to edge out Ms Baker (Labor), who claimed 17,133 or 31.6%.

Then followed Ben Mitchell (Liberal – 7,888 or 14.6%), John Brown (The Greens – 3,715 or 6.9%), Michael Cooper (Independent – 3,427 or 6.3%), Brian Burke (Independent – 2,096 or 3.9%) and Shahriar “Sean” Saffari (Independent – 1,353 or 2.5%).

Labor’s Kay Fraser was the clear winner at Lake Macquarie.

She collected a whopping 69,105 of the overall ballot – or 53% – to surpass Liberal’s Jason Pauling, with 28,824 (22.1%).

Only five votes separated Lake Macquarie Independents’ Luke Cubis (16,206 – 12.4%) and Independent Rosmairi Dawson (16,201 – 12.4%).

It was a similar story for City of Newcastle.

Labor’s Nuatali Nelmes romped home with 42,052 (41.9%) from Independent John Church (27,329 – 27.3%), The Greens’ John Mackenzie (14,256 – 14.2%), Liberal’s Jenny Barrie (11,683 – 11.7%), Independent Rod Holding (3,015 – 3%) and Socialist Alliance’s Steve O’Brien (1,940 – 1.9%).

Cessnock will welcome a new mayor following the retirement of Bob Pynsent.

Labor’s Jay Suvaal captured the honours with 15,629 (42.8%), in front of Independent Ian Olsen (9,946 – 27.3%), Liberal’s John Moores (6,916 – 19%) and The Greens’ Janet Murray (4,006 – 11%).

At Singleton, Independent Sue Moore retained her role after collecting 5,142 (37.4%) from Danny Thompson (Independent – 3,811 or 27.7%), Tony Jarrett (Labor – 3,085 or 22.4%) and Belinda Charlton (Independent – 1,717 or 12.5%).

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