Labor will take a reshuffled line-up into September's local government election in Newcastle.
In a change endorsed by the party's state administrative committee, deputy lord mayor Declan Clausen will shift from Ward 3 to replace incumbent councillor Emma White at the top of Labor's Ward 1 ticket on September 4.
The move makes it unlikely Cr White will be re-elected in a ward where the Greens and Newcastle Independents polled strongly in 2017.
Cr Clausen will be replaced in Ward 3 by lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes, who will contest both the mayoral and ward votes.
Cr Nelmes will vacate the Ward 3 position if she wins the lord mayoral vote, leaving Cr Peta Winney-Baartz at the top of the ticket.
Jason Dunn will not contest Ward 4, leaving incumbent Matt Byrne to head up the Labor ticket, ahead of Dehanna Richardson and Ann Crump.
Cr Carol Duncan will stay atop Labor's ticket in Ward 2.
Cr Nelmes contested only the lord mayoral ballot in 2017, when she won 42 per cent of the vote, 21 points ahead of her nearest rival, independent Kath Elliott.
Labor also won 40 per cent of the ward primary vote that year after enjoying a 10-point swing.
Labor won enough votes to secure two councillors in Ward 3 and two in Ward 4 in 2017 to give it a rare absolute majority in the chamber, a feat it may struggle to repeat on September 4.
Labor now has seven of the 13 councillors, including Cr Nelmes, but will slip to five if it loses its second representatives in wards three and four.
The make-up of the council has created a de facto parliamentary system in the chamber for the past four years, with Labor ruling as a bloc and the four Newcastle Independents casting themselves as an opposition party.
The Newcastle Independents will run with incumbent councillors John Church in Ward 1, Cr Elliott in Ward 2 and Allan Robinson in Ward 4.
Cr Andrea Rufo will not contest the election, leaving former detective David Wild to stand for the Independents in Ward 3.
The alliance plans to name its lord mayoral candidate in early July.
A group of left-leaning independents was lining up a ticket in Ward 1 but has pulled out over fears it would affect Cr Church's vote.
Liberal incumbent Brad Luke has said he will not contest the election, but the party has not announced its team of candidates.
The Greens' John Mackenzie will stand for lord mayor and in Ward 1.
Charlotte McCabe, Sinead Francis-Coan and Thomas Levick will also lead ward tickets for the Greens.
Lambton community newspaper operator Mark Brooker is running as an independent in Ward 3.
Mr Brooker said he hoped to be help bring a "collegiate and co-operative style" to the council if elected.
"Failing that ... I'll be casting myself as a vocal cross-bencher whose vote cannot be assumed," he said.
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