THERE were several surprises to come out of Saturday's local government elections and while votes are still being tallied, current Mayor Richie Williamson took a massive lead and secured himself a position on Clarence Valley Council.
Vote counts were not updated during the day yesterday after a flying start to the counting on Saturday night and at time of print there was little progress on the first night's results.
That left The Examiner and anyone else - including councillor candidates - guessing as to the final make-up of the new Clarence Valley Council.
One thing is sure, however; Richie Williamson almost doubled the number of votes he received at the 2008 election, making him the first councillor over the line.
Even by Saturday night, Cr Williamson had received almost 32% of first preferences.
Despite his doubts about running after announcing business problems, Maclean developer Andrew Baker was polling in second place behind Cr Williamson.
But the bigger surprise was little-known Grafton businessman Jason Kingsley, who was in third position when the NSW Electoral Commission last updated its website.
Early polling suggests Mr Kingsley stands a good chance of being elected to the council along with Mr Baker. Sitting councillors Sue Hughes and Jim Simmons were just behind Mr Kingsley with 6.29% and 6.09% respectively.
Teacher, Cr Craig Howe was in sixth place, while environmentalist Greg Clancy was in seventh.
Businessman and chamber of commerce president Jeremy Challacombe was in equal eighth place with sitting councillor Karen Toms. Cr Margaret McKenna was just holding ninth position with 3.99%.