Labour North East mayor candidate Kim McGuinness received the most votes among residents in County Durham. 

Ms McGuinness received 43,084 votes against 25,074 for the independent candidate Jamie Driscoll, her closest rival. Conservative candidate Guy Renner-Thompson received the third most with 11,627. Turnout in County Durham was 24.7%. 

The final result is due to be revealed at Sunderland Leisure Centre later this afternoon. 

Full County Durham result:

Paul Donaghy (Reform) - 9,679 

Jamie Driscoll (Independent) - 25,074 

Andrew Gray (Green) - 2,396 

Aidan King (Lib Dem) - 3,907 

Kim McGuinness (Labour) - 43,084 

Guy Renner-Thompson (Conservative) - 11,627

Labour Leader, Cllr Carl Marshall, said: “It is a fantastic result for Kim and a fantastic result for our region. I’d like to congratulate Kim for a very much deserved victory and for all of her hard work and unrelenting positivity during a long and gruelling campaign.

“County Durham Labour is focused on working closely with Kim to deliver for the people of our county. On the campaign trail she was welcomed on the doorstep by residents and it’s fantastic that the positivity surrounding Kim’s campaign, that we all experienced while campaigning with her in communities, has been carried into the elections.

“It was clear then and it is clear now, people have had enough of this self-serving Tory government and are just as fed up with the chaotic Tory-led Coalition leading Durham County Council, and many will see Kim’s election as the first step in turning County Durham back into a Labour county.

“As Mayor, Kim will be a passionate advocate for all of the North East, helping unite villages, towns, counties and boroughs to unite and work together to attract the investment required to ensure the region fulfils its undoubted potential.”

The new mayor will serve a population of around two million people across County Durham,  Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

A multi-billion pound devolution deal was agreed with the Government and will see the region handed new funding and decision-making powers over areas like transport and housing.

What does the new mayor mean for County Durham?

Consultation feedback from residents, businesses, the voluntary and community sector groups in County Durham was positive, and in agreement with the proposed governance changes. There was particularly strong support for devolution around transport, skills, employment and adult education. 

However, there was a perception by some that the governance proposals would lead to greater bureaucracy and cost for local residents, with the role of the Elected Mayor also questioned. 

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A concern raised by residents in County Durham is how decisions made on Tyneside and Wearside will impact their communities. Several debate-style hustings events have been held in the run-up to the election, but of those held in County Durham, only one has taken place outside of Durham City. 

Candidates reassured residents at an event in Barnard Castle in March by saying the county will be equally represented through its decision-making powers and investment. 

Durham County Council will be the largest local authority in the LA7 deal and will have an influential voice on how funding will be spent across all sectors, said council leader Amanda Hopgood.