ON ELECTION night, some television commentators were confidently predicting that Eden-Monaro’s “bellwether” days were numbered.
But as the results continued to come in, it soon became clear the battle for the seat was far from over, with the Liberals’ Peter Hendy gaining ground after counting resumed on Monday.
At Narooma’s main booths it seemed to be an even closer contest with very little to separate the two major parties.
Neither side appears to be giving up, with the Australian Electoral Commission saying a result here might not be known until Friday, September 20.
This week, the counting of pre-poll and postal votes will continue, following a recount of the booths on Monday.
On final official results at the time of going to press last night, the Liberals were in the lead by 563 votes on a two candidate preferred basis.
Mr Hendy had 50.37 per cent of the vote and Dr Kelly 49.63 on the two-candidate preferred count.
This represents a swing to the Liberals of 4.31 per cent in the seat held by Dr Mike Kelly with a margin of 4.2 per cent.
If Mr Hendy prevails, the seat’s reputation as the bellwether, which has gone the way of the government for the past 40 years, will be retained.
At the two Narooma booths, there was only a small swing away from Dr Kelly who polled 1070 votes while Mr Hendy polled 1176.
At Dalmeny, there was also a tiny swing of .57 per cent away from Labor with Dr Kelly attracting 540 votes to Mr Hendy’s 548.
At Tuross Head the swing to the Liberals was bigger (4.74 per cent) with Dr Kelly capturing 595 votes to Mr Hendy’s 576.
At Bermagui there wasn’t much in it either, with Labor attracting 661 votes to the Liberal’s 626, while at Bodalla Labor polled 279 votes to the Liberals 274.
At Central Tilba Dr Kelly enjoyed a healthy swing of 3.71 per cent. Here Labor polled 229 votes to the Liberals 107.
Mr Hendy told Fairfax Media that he, his family and supporters were enduring an uncertain wait.
“We're obviously buoyed by the fact that the team has won government and that puts us in an optimistic frame of mind,” Mr Hendy said.
“It's just a count now, but the count has been steadily improving.”
A spokesman for Dr Kelly said it was going to be tough but the result was still too close to call.
“We will just wait patiently for the count, and expect a result later in the week,” the Kelly campaign spokesman said.
Among the minor candidates, the Palmer United Party’s Dean Lynch attracted 5.37 per cent of the vote, while The Greens Catherine Moore captured 7.2 per cent.
The informal vote held steady at 5.33 per cent.
While the number of votes left to count is uncertain, Dr Kelly tweeted yesterday “by way of information it appears there may be up to 13,000 more votes to count along with finishing off the re-count so it will take time”.