Joe McGirr looks all but certain to be the new Member for Wagga.
Country Labor’s candidate Dan Hayes has conceded to the independent Dr McGirr.
Liberal candidate Julia Ham, who was marginally ahead of Dr McGirr in the primary vote on Monday, was not expecting to win once preferences were counted.
After taking a congratulatory call from Mr Hayes, Dr McGirr said he remained quietly optimistic of winning the poll, but that the optimism was growing.
“First of all I called Joe McGirr today to concede that he will be the next member for Wagga – unfortunately he didn’t pick up,” Mr Hayes announced in a media appearance on Monday.
“I did just send a text clarifying and he called me back and we had a brief chat. I just wanted to relay to him congratulations and that as a councillor for Wagga as well I look forward to working with him and making sure that those promises that this government made over the last three or four weeks are going to come to fruition.
“We saw time and time again (the Liberal party) trying to buy their way to victory here. It looks like it’s not going to work for them.”
Mr Hayes ruled out calling for a recount, saying that it was obvious that the result would come down to preferences.
“What we have seen is people willing to put their preferences down and make that decision for themselves,” he said.
“This is a fantastic result for the Labor Party here in Wagga.
“We went into this knowing this was Everest. I know this sounds like a cliche but we didn’t quite make the summit today.”
Mr Hayes declared he will continue to fight for the electorate.
“It was fantastic and it was fun and it really engaged the people of Wagga,” he said.
Dr McGirr said he had thanked Mr Hayes for the call and congratulated his fellow candidate on a professional campaign.
“Mr Hayes said he looked forward to working with me to make sure the government keeps its promises,” he said.
With a general state election due in March, Mr Hayes said he was willing to once again represent Country Labor.
Ms Ham described the campaign as one of the best experiences of her life.
“I am delighted to have done as well as I did,” she told The Daily Advertiser.
Ms Ham has not ruled out a tilt in the March election.
“If I was pre-selected, I would do it again in a heartbeat,” she said.