Macleay Valley waits for outcome of council elections

THE results of the race for eight council seats remained unclear yesterday.

But there appears to be a few safe bets among the winners and losers.

As yet, first preference statistics published show only Liz Campbell has passed the quota that would guarantee a seat in the chambers.

With a small proportion of postal votes to be counted, the quota number is expected to about the 1650 votes mark, or 11.1 per cent of the total first preferences.

Cr Campbell has secured 2320 votes already, but after she is declared mayor, all preferences behind her on ballot papers will move up a place.

If voters have followed Cr Campbell’s how-to-vote recommendations, Sue McGinn could become the first to be declared as a councillor.

This would occur even though Ms McGinn had 4.56 per cent of the total first preferences as of yesterday, and was well down the field.

Betty Green (8.29 per cent) looks set to retain her seat, while new faces Anthony Patterson (9.43 per cent) and Lou Kesby (8.79 per cent) are likely to join her.

Jim Gribbin (6.67 per cent) may have done enough to secure another term as councillor, along with young first-time candidate Ashley Williams (6.51 per cent).

Cr Dean Saul - who headed the only group on the ballot paper - has 8.2 per cent, and will no doubt be hoping his colleagues’ preferences will take him over the threshold.

Arguably a surprise of the election was John Bowell’s spectacular fall from being the most popular candidate in 2008, to the least popular of the ungrouped field. 

By yesterday afternoon, he had secured just 328 first prefences (2.24 per cent), compared with 2099 (13.85 per cent) in 2008.

Alan Snowsill (3.68 per cent) looks to have lost his seat on council, while Jenny Sproule (4.73 per cent) faces an anxious wait for the distribution of preferences.

The youngest candidate, James Burnett (5.68 per cent); former Kempsey Shire Council director Bruce Morris (5.61 per cent); and care worker Greg Sowter (5.04 per cent) are likely to vie for any remaing seats.

Peter Chapman (3.43 per cent) looks to be out of contention.

The formal declaration of councillor results is expected on Friday.

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