New South Wales Labor leader John Robertson has vowed his party will not let the Hunter region down after claiming victory in two by-elections.
Voters in the state seats of Newcastle and Charlestown were today forced back to the polls after Liberal MPs Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell vacated the seats earlier this year.
The Liberal-National Coalition did not contest the by-elections and ABC election analyst Antony Green said Labor was on track for victories in both seats.
"Tonight, the people of Newcastle and Charlestown came back to Labor," Mr Robertson said.
"We will not let you down."
Labor's Newcastle candidate Tim Crakanthorp said he would be "holding this Baird Government to account over things like the rail line decision, over the decision to put the high-rise towers into Newcastle with the Upper House inquiry [into planning decisions in the region] on at the moment".
"I will work my guts out for this city," he said.
Lake Macquarie Mayor and Labor's Charlestown candidate, Jodie Harrison, said she would serve the electorate with honesty and integrity.
"I intend to keep the Baird Government true to its promises but I also intend to make sure that Labor has good, strong representation," she said.
Labor had been widely tipped to win the seats after the Liberal-National Coalition decided not to field candidates as "an act of atonement" for revelations heard at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which led to the resignations of the sitting Government MPs.
Mr Cornwell and Mr Owen quit Parliament after ICAC heard they had accepted undeclared donations from property developers for their 2011 election campaigns.
Property developers are banned from making campaign donations under NSW electoral laws.
Independent Karen Howard, a former Hunter Business Chamber president, was leading on first preferences in the seat of Newcastle during early counting, but many of the initial results were from booths won by the Liberal Party at the last election.
Some voters told the ABC the ICAC revelations were on their minds as they cast their votes today.
"I'm really after someone with a lot of integrity," one told the ABC.
"The corruption issues - I think that concerns me more than having to come back to vote," another said.
The winning candidates could serve for less than six months, with a state election due in March next year.