Gympie Regional Council candidate hopefuls Jess Milne and Mark McDonald.
Gympie Regional Council candidate hopefuls Jess Milne and Mark McDonald.

GYMPIE ELECTION: Candidate kicks away in race for coast seat

DIVISIONS 1 and 7 remain the ones to watch as the Gympie Council election race drags on, but one contender has pulled ahead in the former.

Incumbent Mark McDonald has pulled away from newcomer Jess Milne and now boasts a 56-vote buffer with 69.90 per cent of the preliminary count completed.

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Council Meeting – Mark McDonald. Picture: Shane Zahner
Council Meeting – Mark McDonald. Picture: Shane Zahner

That lead more than doubles the 26-vote advantage Mr McDonald held on Friday.

He now holds 36.71 per cent of the preliminary count, ahead of Ms Milne on 35.04 per cent.

Division 7 incumbent and former Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch and challenger Warren Polley will have to hold their breath a little longer, with their minuscule five-vote gap unchanged from Friday’s progress results.

Warren Polley and Bob Leitch
Warren Polley and Bob Leitch

Mr Polley still sits on 1294 votes (36.14 per cent) after almost 80 per cent of the initial count, a nose in front of Mr Leitch on 1289 votes. Donna Reardon rounds out that division on 998 votes.

Likely mayor elect Glen Hartwig (14,013 votes) has retained his 17 per cent lead over incumbent Mick Curran with more than 76 per cent of the preliminary count done.

Dolly Jensen (Division 2), Shane Waldock (Div 3) and Bruce Devereaux (Div 4) have kept comfortable leads in their respective divisions, and look likely to make up the new faces on the next council.

Incumbent councillors Dan Stewart (Div 5), Hilary Smerdon (Div 6) and Bob Fredman (Div 8) are all hot favourites to retain their seats.

There remains plenty of work to be done before the election can be declared, with postal votes not cut off until 5pm on Tuesday.

Preference votes will then be distributed among the candidates.

The new council will not be able to sit until at least 14 days after the election is declared.