The Conservatives took 12,770 votes, the Lib Dems 7,191, BNP 1,913 and UKIP 1,094.
Ballot papers from the three Sunderland constituencies were counted at Sunderland Tennis Centre on Thursday.
Efficiency over speed
In the 2005 election the council made history by declaring the first three results on the night - Sunderland South at 2245 BST, Sunderland North at 2325 BST and Houghton and Washington East at 2332 BST.
Sunderland's election officer, Bill Crawford, earlier said the aim was to continue that record and nothing was being left to chance.
To make sure the ballot boxes got quickly into Sunderland Tennis Centre a group of local school children were employed to swiftly pass them down a line.
The council's election team had learnt from past counts too. One year they found they had finished a little slower than anticipated, so changed the weight of their voting papers from 100 grams to 80 grams, making them easier to handle.
And voters were under strict instructions to fold their papers only once, from north to south.
Mr Crawford said plans had also been made for the unexpected: they had spare counters in the wings should it be a particularly high turn out, an emergency generator available in case there was a power cut, and a spare room has been set aside should there be any problems in the main counting room.
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