THE Liberal Party has been wiped out of the Hunter.
Meryl Swanson, the Labor Party candidate for Paterson, received a phone call form the party’s general secretary, Kayla Murnain, just after 7pm.
She told her that, with a little more than 30 per cent of the vote counted, the party was calling the seat.
Votes were still being counted, but at 9.30pm, with 67 per cent of the vote counted, Labor had 60 per cent of the two party preferred vote - a swing of 10 per cent.
Ms Swanson addressed a raucous group of supporters at her campaign function just after 8.30pm.
Speaking in the Diamond Room of the Maitland City Bowling Club at Rutherford, she said she would "give you everything I can" to make politics "better".
"I can't do it on my own and I'm not looking to do it on my own, I need to bring people with me," she said.
"That, I think, is the key to being a successful local member. You need to bring your community together."
The surprise of the night in Paterson though was the strong showing of Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party.
The right wing party pulled 13 per cent of the vote - an 11 per cent swing.
If the majority of those preferences had flowed to the Liberal Party, the result may have been closer, but Labor insiders were saying that the view from many of the reporting booths was that they had split fairly evenly.
The National Party will hold Lyne, and Michel Johnsen's state seat of Upper Hunter, but Labor's seeming victory in what was the Hunter's only strongly contested seat means the Liberal Party no longer hold any seats in the region at a state or federal level.
Paterson had been held by the Liberal Party since 2001, but a dramatic redistribution coupled with sitting MP Bob Baldwin's retirement made the seat a tough hold.
Despite the big swing, Karen Howard, the Liberal Party candidate for the seat, said she would wait until "all the votes have been counted" before she made a decision on whether to concede.
"At the moment, it's not about me, it's about the voters," she said.
"There will still be votes being counted well into the evening tonight so I'm pretty relaxed about respecting that process we'll wait see how it lands.
"I think we will have more to say when the results are clearer. I'm reluctant to say too much before votes are counted. That's how I carry myself."
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