MARY Valley people will never forget Mick Venardos and the lobbying skills that made him a pivotal force in their victory over the Traveston Crossing dam proposal.
On latest counting yesterday, Mr Venardos topped the poll in the Valley's Division 8, as well as in Division 5, which runs from Tozer St and Crescent Rd out to Coondoo and Toolara.
But that was the end of it for Mr Venardos, as majority support over the rest of the region headed uniformly towards the man everyone is now calling Mayor-elect, Ron Dyne.
Mr Venardos, on 7632 votes late yesterday, faced an almost impossible task as Mr Dyne increased his lead, now holding 10,241 votes.
Allowing for informal votes and people not voting, there remain an estimated 3500 votes to be counted.
Mr Venardos, who has still not conceded defeat, will need just about all of them to win.
Across the divisions, Rae Gate in Division 2 increased her lead to 671, with 84.32% of the vote counted.
She appeared to have won out over Ron Owen, despite what many saw as a preference sharing deal with the third Division 2 candidate, Jo Carson, partner of close Owen-associate Frank Lightfoot.
Ian Petersen in Division 3 increased his lead to 401, with 85.06% counted.
His only opponent, Shane Jocumsen, was another candidate closely identified with Mr Owen under the last Cooloola Shire Council.
And Larry Friske in Division 5 increased his lead to 626, with 83.25% counted.
The longest-serving sitting councillor in the region, Mr Friske is running well ahead of his opponents, with 1543 votes, compared to 917 for Clive Sandison and 517 for Alan Dray. Other candidates thought to have won are Mark McDonald (Division 1), Tony Perrett (Division 6), Mick Curran (Division 7) and Julie Walker (Division 8).