Cessnock will have a new mayor but it appears the Labor streak may continue, with Jay Suvaal in prime position to claim the mayoralty.
The first term councillor had 42.3 per cent of the vote on Sunday, ahead of long-term Independent councillor Ian Olsen, who had 27.14 per cent with about a third of the votes counted.
With Labor mayor Bob Pynsent's retirement, the door became open for a new contender.
Cr Suvaal said he didn't expect the final outcome to be too different to how it is now, but the makeup of the wards was more up in the air.
The party is hopeful of retaining its absolute majority, with the Liberals and Cr Olsen's Independents pushing for the remainder of seats.
Cr Suvaal said addressing the road maintenance backlog and traffic congestion were high on his priority list, as well as improving connectivity, with more shared pathways linking to the city's improved parks.
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