After polling stations across Eastbourne closed at 10pm tonight (Thursday), the General Election count is now underway at the Winter Garden as forecasters predict an easy win for Liberal Democrat Stephen Lloyd.
Mr Lloyd, who swept to victory with a 3,435 majority at the last General Election in 2010 when he ousted Conservative Nigel Waterson, is being seen as the clear winner and the town’s MP for the next five years.
Political polls have consistently put him ahead of his nearest rival, the Conservative Party’s Caroline Ansell, a local mother of three and a former member of Eastbourne Borough Council, despite some visits from some high profile senior politicians in the run up the General Election.
Home Secretary Teresa May has visited Eastbourne twice to endorse Mrs Ansell, Jeremy May, Iain Duncan Smith and William Hague have also been on whistlestop tours and over the Bank Holiday weekend Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne were out and about at the Enterprise Centre and on the seafront.
Other parliamentary candidates in the election contest include Labour’s Jake Lambert, a school teacher, journalist Nigel Jones from UKIP, the Green Party’s Andrew Durling and Independent Paul Howard.
But it hasn’t been smooth sailing in the run up to the election, with several mishaps along the way.
Last week, the Herald revealed the ballot papers for the Eastbourne parliamentary and local elections were missing - after a van carrying them from the printers in Dagenham, down to the coast was stolen.
Although Eastbourne’s missing ballot papers never emerged, new papers were reprinted in different colours in time for election day.
We have also seen stolen political placards and a UKIP van vandalised for the third time since the election campaign began.
Labour candidate Jake Lambert had to make a trip to A&E on Sunday (May 3), after he was bitten by a dog when delivering leaflets in Hampden Park.
There have been a string of hustings debates, allowing candidates to voice their opinions on a whole number of issues, including the Eastborune DGH, the A27 and how to boost the local economy.
Green candidate Andrew Durling offered to donate 50 per cent of his salary to charity if elected MP, and UKIP candidate Nigel Jones followed suit, offering 10 per cent of his salary.
Each of the candidates has fought a strong campaign to win Eastbourne and Willingdon, but has it been enough?
Stay tuned to www.eastbourneherald.co.uk for the latest on the results as they come in.
The results are due to come in at 4am, and our reporters will be live tweeting from the election count.
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