DEPUTY Mayor Peter Blundell may be the candidate logically next in line for the top job and he is certainly heading in the right direction.
The results of last week's Warwick Daily News/Warwick Chamber of Commerce and Stanthorpe Border Post/ Stanthorpe Chamber of Commerce election forum exit polls are in - with a clear front-runner.
It was no surprise the two Stanthorpe mayoral candidates - Cr Mally McMurtrie and Blundell - won the favour Granite Belt voters with an exact split of 31 votes each way and a tie for first place.
It was slightly more surprising Junabee's Darryl Evans broke through the parochial decision- making to come in second place with 18 votes.
McMurtrie didn't fare as well the following night in Warwick with 10 people ticking the box beside her name, but Blundell leapt ahead with 55 votes for total of 86.
But Blundell said it was by no means a true indication of how people would vote on their official ballots.
"Obviously while that is very nice to hear it is indeed a poll of a very small percentage of people across the community," he said.
"I still have a lot of hard work to do and I need to talk to as many people as I possibly can about the way forward for the community."
Evans again came in behind with 22 votes taking him to a total of 40, only one behind McMurtrie.
"We have got people talking about the issues that weren't being spoken about before," he said.
About 84% of the 125 Stanthorpe attendees made up their minds by the end of the night but only 32% of Warwick's 400 forum goers knew who they wanted as leader as they walked out the door.
Overall about 45% of Southern Downs' voters were confident enough to tick an exit poll box by the end of the forums - but with three weeks to go until the April 28 election, it could still be anyone's game.
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