Margaret Strelow and her election night supporters were excited to see Ms Strelow in the lead according to the first votes tallied.
Margaret Strelow and her election night supporters were excited to see Ms Strelow in the lead according to the first votes tallied. Chris Ison

Close rival predicts tight battle

IT appeared the State Minister for Local Government had more confidence in mayoral candidate Margaret Strelow's position than she did when the first election figures were released on Saturday night.

David Crisafulli called to congratulate the former Rockhampton City Council Mayor on her win when figures showed she had a lead of more than 2000 votes ahead of her nearest contender, Tim Griffin.

Ms Strelow said Mr Crisafulli was already convinced of her win in the race to become the Mayor of Rockhampton Regional Council, and told her to put the kettle on as he would be coming up to see her shortly.

She remained less confident until she received an update from her "scrutineers" at the pre-polling booth yesterday afternoon.

"If it's enough for the minister, it's enough for me," Ms Strelow conceded yesterday.

"I saw enough today for me to be comfortable."

But Mr Griffin was yesterday not ready to call it a day.

Late yesterday afternoon's figures showed Ms Strelow was sitting on 13,117 votes and Mr Griffin on 11,018, with 57% of the vote counted.

The pair were well ahead of the other three contenders, which included incumbent Brad Carter.

Mr Griffin predicted the election would finish closer than the 219 vote margin between Jim McRae and Brad Carter in 2008's Rockhampton mayoral race.

While Ms Strelow is ahead of Mr Griffin in primary votes, it is unclear how many votes he will receive from his preferential arrangement with fellow mayoral candidate Lea Taylor.

Ms Strelow was the last of the five candidates to announce she would run for mayor and ran a relatively low-profile campaign.

The campaign of the popular former mayor was based on bringing unity back to the council table and organisation.

"Nothing is official... I don't want to be pre-emptive," she said.

She also chose not to comment on Mr Griffin's decision to lodge a formal complaint to Electoral Commission Queensland, in which he claims he and others were given the wrong voting directions by officials at a Parkhurst polling booth.

Mr Griffin said the complaint could see voters head back to the polls.



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