Even more councillors have reportedly thrown their hats into the ring for the Ballarat mayoral contest next week, leaving just two of the nine local elected representatives not in the running.
The Courier understands that councillors Jim Rinaldi and Grant Tillett are late entries into the race, with nominations closing at 5pm on Monday evening.
Last Friday, five councillors had already confirmed to The Courier that they were going for the mayoral job, a situation that was already being described as "an unusually crowded field."
Last year, there were just three councillors standing for mayor.
HAVE YOUR SAY AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS STORY
Crs Rinaldi and Tillett, who are both independent councillors without political affiliation, are widely viewed as loyalists to the current mayor Samantha McIntosh, so their nomination in the race - if officially confirmed - will come as a surprise to close observers of town hall.
A little earlier on Monday, Cr Tillett had published a long, detailed post on Facebook detailing some of his thoughts on working as a councillor as well as his support for Cr McIntosh.
"When the history of Ballarat for this era is written the name Samantha McIntosh will resonate as one of the people notable in the totality of the history of Ballarat coming election results notwithstanding," he wrote.
If confirmed, it would leave a total of seven councillors vying for the most prominent and influential post in the municipality, including Cr McIntosh, who has been in the role for the past three years.
It would be a bizarre twist in a race to be mayor that has already been described by one councillor as a one of the most complex and interesting of recent years.
Aside from Crs McIntosh, Tillett and Rinaldi, other councillors who have confirmed as mayoral candidates are: Des Hudson, who was mayor in the year before the most recent local elections, Mark Harris, Daniel Moloney, and Ben Taylor.
That would leave just Crs Amy Johnson and Belinda Coates not standing for mayor.
On social media on Monday Cr Johnson revealed that she would be backing Ben Taylor to hold the post for the next year, the final 12 months of the current council.
No other councillors have publicly revealed who they will be supporting.
There are also reportedly five councillors who have put themselves forward for the deputy mayor position.
The mayoral position will be decided at a special council meeting next Monday evening (October 28). Cr Moloney last week suggested that some candidates may drop out over the course of the next week.
The next mayor will be decided in elimination rounds, with the candidate with the fewest votes knocked out.
Only the nine councillors are involved in the voting process.
There had been some speculation that a three-way tie could be possible, which would mean one candidate would need to be eliminated by lot according to local law.
[The document "Meeting Procedure Local Law 2018" published on the City of Ballarat website outlines the full process - see section 9.]
It remains unclear how the extra candidates might change the permutations.