The Labor Party looks set to hold the majority of seats on Campbelltown Council as the results from Saturday’s by-election continue to be tallied.
The death of long-serving councillor Fred Borg days before Christmas last year triggered the by-election.
Only three candidates put their hand up to replace Mr Borg – Labor’s Ben Gilholme, Community First Team’s Josh Cotter, and Totally Locally Committed Party member Gary Potts.
The Liberal Party cited several reasons – including poor results at last year’s council and federal elections – for not putting forward a candidate.
While the results will not be official until later in the week, the votes already counted mean Mr Gilholme is all but assured of winning the seat.
Mayor George Brticevic (Labor) said he was “appreciative of the Campbelltown community” for the support shown to Mr Gilholme and the party.
He believes the newest member of councillor will bring his own unique qualities to the chamber.
“He’s got that youth factor,” Cr Brticevic said.
“He’s 25 so he’s a spring chicken.
“Plus he has that disability support background which is something we are all passionate about, but he actually comes from that field.”
Gary Potts – who was considered the sentimental favourite to win given his association with Mr Borg’s Totally Locally Committed Party – said he was disappointed with the result.
“We knew it wouldn’t be easy but we were optimistic,” he said.
Mr Potts said while he wasn’t bitter about the result, he was frustrated a by-election had to be held given legislation had passed through state government to allow a new councillor to be elected via count back.
However, the final details had yet to be signed off by the relevant department.
“It’s disappointing we had to go through it at a ($500,000) cost to the community when there was legislation (that could have avoided the by-election),” he said. “But we can’t be bitter about that now.”
Mr Cotter, while also disappointed with the result, was buoyed by the number of votes he collected to finish in second place.
“It was always going to be a big challenge going up against a major party like Labor, but I’m really proud of what we achieved,” he said.
“In Glen Alpine – my home town – we beat Labor by 500 votes, which is huge.”
The results are officially expected to be declared on Friday.