CLARENCE Valley Council candidate Jeremy Challacombe is the big winner from exit polling at The Daily Examiner meet-the-candidates forums.
Mr Challacombe, who was one of the Valley's most outspoken critics of the State Government's downsizing of the Grafton Jail, said he was a bit stunned and humbled when he learned so many people at the forums backed him.
"There's no doubt my role in that (the jail rallies) helped me," he said.
"But I'm very wary about it as well. None of what I did there was done with local government in mind."
Mr Challacombe, who is president of Grafton Chamber of Commerce, said if he was elected to council he would continue to push his platform for locally based development to overcome the job losses the Valley had experienced.
"I will continue to be outspoken about what I believe in," he said.
"People will know this is what I say and this is what I stand for."
At the forums The Daily Examiner asked voters at Maclean and Grafton to pick their top three candidates (numbered one to three).
Three points were awarded first choice, two for second and one for third.
Incumbent Mayor Richie Williamson polled the most votes with 110, but was the only current council member in the top three.
Lower Clarence property developer Andrew Baker's 96 points showed voters were prepared to overlook his admission that two of his companies were in financial trouble.
Exit poll results
- Richie Williamson 110
- Jeremy Challacombe 100
- Andrew Baker 96
- Paul Parkinson 80
- Karen Toms 80
- Craig Howe 71
- Jason Kingsley 58
- Sue Hughes 57
- Greg Clancy 46
- Joy De Roos 41
- Jim Simmons 40
- Ursula Tunks 37
- Michael McIvor 34
- Jane Beeby 27
- Margaret McKenna 21
- Rod Morrison 11
- Margot Scott 7