THE smart money was on Phil Betts early to win the Ray Walsh House derby for deputy mayor.
Cr Betts ran well wide of candidates Jim Maxwell and Mark Rodda who each announced they were in the race.
Last week, Cr Betts ruled himself out of the deputy derby, so he was always going to be a roughie to back in.
- Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray eyes off a ten year run at the top
- Mark Rodda to run for deputy mayor of Tamworth Regional Council
- Tamworth council's formidable leadership team comes to an end
- Tamworth council: Jim Maxwell stands in deputy mayoral elections
- 2016: mayor Col Murray switches allegiances from his deputy of six years, Russell Webb, to newly-elected Helen Tickle
Russell Webb was considering a return to the role and there were rumours Juanita Wilson could get a start, but it remained a three-horse race.
Cr Rodda and Cr Maxwell shared a nervous laugh in the gates while one member of the public murmured “go for Betts” as the first votes were tallied.
Cr Rodda, nominated by Juanita Wilson, was knocked-out at the first turn, pulling just two votes, leaving the Helen Tickle-backed Jim Maxwell and Glenn Inglis’ bet Phil Betts to duke it out on the home stretch.
Cr Betts had took an early lead claiming four votes in the first round.
The Kootingal-bred Cr Betts eventually claimed the prize, by a nose, edging out Manilla’s Cr Maxwell five votes to four.
Cr Betts has some pedigree returning to the role 14 years after he was elected as Tamworth Regional Council's first deputy mayor after amalgamation in 2004.
Unsurprisingly, it was a one-horse-race for mayor with Col Murray claiming the chains once again.
Aspiring deputy, Cr Maxwell nominated the incumbent and no other nominees came forward.
Cr Murray will serve a two-year term which will take his tenure as mayor to a neat decade.
He will become the city’s longest serving mayor, behind predecessor James Treloar.
Neighbouring mayors, Jamie Chaffey and Andrew Hope, kept an eye on the race in the chambers.