Former councillor Brian Kelson is shaping up as the frontrunner to replace Peter Hulin after his shock resignation.
But just who wins depends on how preferences flow when the Victorian Electoral Commission does a recount.
Mr Kelson, who secured 1046 first preference votes at the 2016 election, lost his seat on the council after polling just 12 votes shy of elected councillor Robert Anderson.
But having just missed out last time doesn't mean he is guaranteed a seat.
Mr Kelson said he would be prepared to step down as president of the Warrnambool Ratepayers Association if he was the successful candidate.
"I do believe I've still got a lot to offer and if it did come my way I would certainly be putting my hand up," he said.
"The way things have been going it hasn't run terribly smooth. Hopefully we can get in there and make a bit of a difference to that."
He said Mr Hulin directed his first preferences to Christine Thompson, who received 195 first preference votes.
But after Mr Hulin's 1519 votes are redistributed, it means there is a chance she could get over the line.
"It's happened in other places where a candidate with a small amount of votes has been installed as a councillor. That is quite possible," Mr Kelson said.
After Mrs Thompson, Mr Hulin's preferences were directed to ex-councillor Peter Sycopoulis and then Mr Kelson.
Mr Sycopoulis said he would step into the councillor role if he got the numbers. He received 765 votes at the last election while Jennifer Lowe had 817.
Three other candidates received first preference votes in the 700s - Dave McPahil (763), John Harris (759) and Richard Ziegeler (717).
There were 11 other candidates who polled between 64 and 661 votes.
While a Standard analysis of preference votes after the last election put Mr Kelson most likely to be the next candidate, preferences would be treated differently in the countback with only Mr Hulin's being used rather than a total redistribution of preferences from all candidates.
Mr Sycopoulis said that along with Mr Kelson, Ms Lowe and Mrs Thompson could also be in the running but it depended on how voters distributed their preferences.
He said he believed those who voted for Mr Hulin would generally have voted for the like-minded councillors.
"I believe it would be wise for all concerned to keep a level head," he said.
"At the end of the day, it depends on how the numbers fall and if the numbers fall in favour of myself I'll give the matter serious consideration."
Mr Kelson said if elected he would "certainly" oppose an extra rate rise this year.
He said last year's extra rate rise above the state government-imposed rate cap should never have happened.
"They didn't need it and figures prove that they didn't need it. Under the guise of repairing infrastructure, it was not required," he said.
The Warrnambool Ratepayers Association issued a statement thanking Mr Hulin for his tireless service, and said he had been "a true voice for the people".
As president, Mr Kelson said Mr Hulin had asked the tough questions and tried to move Warrnambool forward.
He said the association was concerned with Mr Hulin's allegations and he hoped the resignation opened the eyes of the council to the issues plaguing its offices.
"If a councillor must resign from his elected position in council due to the office culture, what chance does the average worker have in voicing their concerns?," he asked.
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