The Hunter’s still crunching the numbers this afternoon, with a few close races for local councils likely to go on for weeks as postal votes and pre-poll numbers roll in.

Labor’s rejoicing today, winning the vote in a number of local governments. 

In Newcastle, incumbent Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes has beaten Newcastle Independents John Church to hold onto the top job. 

It’s likely the Independents will lose ground in the chamber, with possible second seats for the Greens and the Liberals both in the city’s Ward Two.

In Lake Macquarie, Kay Fraser will sit another term as mayor, landing a knockout win with a nine percent swing toward her.

Councillor Jay Suvaal is also likely to take over from Mayor Bob Pynsent in Cessnock, securing another Labor win.

Close races continue between Labor and independent candidates elsewhere in the Hunter.

In Maitland, current Mayor Loretta Baker leads independent Philip Penfold by a tight margin, just a few hundred votes.

The race is also close in Port Stephens, with Labor’s Leah Anderson and incumbent Mayor Ryan Palmer neck and neck as well.

Over in Singleton, independent Mayor Sue Moore is in the lead, but there’s no firm call yet on whether her re-election is certain. 

In Dungog’s first ever direct vote for mayor, John Connors will keep the job uncontested.

It could be weeks before the outcome across all councils and wards is known.