Maitland and Port Stephens continue to be the council election races to watch as just a few hundred votes separate the top mayoral candidates on the second day of counting.
In Port Stephens, the gap has tightened even further between the two mayoral candidates and the lead at Maitland has chopped and changed since the polls closed on Saturday night.
The Port Stephens race was on a knife edge on Monday night. Incumbent Independent Ryan Palmer was just over 130 votes in front of Labor's Leah Anderson with about two thirds of the vote counted so far.
Mr Palmer had 50.19 per cent of the votes so far, compared to 49.81 per cent going Ms Anderson's way.
In Maitland, Independent challenger Philip Penfold re-took the lead on Monday after Labor incumbent Loretta Baker led the race by a few hundred votes at the close of counting on Saturday night.
About 220 votes separated the pair with about two thirds of the vote counted on Monday night.
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Mr Penfold had 33.21 per cent of the vote as it stood, and Ms Baker had 32.65 per cent. Liberal candidate Ben Mitchell was sitting in third with 14.97 per cent, followed by Independent Michael Cooper (6.59 per cent) and Greens candidate John Brown (6.48 per cent).
Mr Penfold said on social media on Monday afternoon it may still be difficult for him to succeed, with preferences more likely to go against him.
"Though it's nice to be in front at present," he said.
The Greens, Liberals and Independent candidates Michael Cooper and Sean Saffari all directed preferences to Labor on their how to vote material.
This is the second tight race between the pair in as many elections, with the 2017 mayoral result also going down to the wire before Ms Baker emerged as the winner following several days of counting.
Cessnock results also showed little changed, with less than half the votes counted and Labor's Jay Suvaal still in front decisively, claiming more than 42 per cent of the vote so far.
In Singleton, incumbent Sue Moore was firmly in the lead with 38.47 per cent with just over a third of the votes counted, ahead of another Independent Danny Thompson on 23.84 per cent.
The official result of each election won't be known for several weeks to come with postal voting still open until December 17. iVote is also yet to be counted.
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