Preliminary results for the by-election in the Cook Islands constituency of Tamarua on the island of Mangaia show the Democratic candidate narrowly ahead.
The Cook Island Party's Tokorua Pareina is also contesting the seat, left vacant last year by the death of the representative, Pukeiti Pukeiti.
The electoral officer, Taggy Tangimetua, says says Tetangi Matapo has a slight lead, so the final vote count is crucial to determine the winner.
"25 votes for the Democratic candidate and 22 for the CIP candidate but we still have five more votes to be counted which is postal and votes in advance."
Taggy Tangimetua says there are 59 voters registered to vote in this electorate.
Final results won't be out until late in the week when postal votes will be included in the count.