DENILIQUIN’S David Landini (pictured) has confirmed he will look to contest the NSW seat of Murray at next month’s by-election.
It comes after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed it would be held on October 14, the same day as the Cootamundra by-election to replace Katrina Hodgkinson.
Nominations will open on September 25, and Mr Landini — who is The Nationals’ party Deniliquin branch president — said he would seek party pre-selection.
The party has not yet set a date for when this pre-selection process would be finalised.
Mr Landini speculated there would be ‘‘other candidates’’ seeking The Nationals’ pre-selection, and one of these could be his branch vice chair Perin Davey.
She would still not confirm her intentions when speaking to the Riverine Herald but said given the election’s quick turn-around, she was expecting to ‘‘make a decision soon’’.
A Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate won the seat of Orange from The Nationals last year, and the party has confirmed it will enter a candidate into the race for Murray.
The party is speculated to be courting previous Adrian Piccoli challenger Helen Dalton as its candidate, but Mrs Dalton would not confirm the news yesterday.
She said she will make a public announcement regarding her intentions in Griffith on Thursday.
‘‘The Nationals have let rural-regional Australia down and I think that’s why there has been a swing towards the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party,’’ she said.
‘‘We have three issues — health, education and water — and the Nationals have been totally absent with water and not representing the region at all, even though it is what links the whole Murray electorate.
‘‘The Deni, Griffith and Barham hospitals are also in a bad way and people have had enough.’’
Mrs Dalton ran against Mr Piccoli at the 2015 election. Despite gaining the second highest number of first preference votes of any candidate — 6517 — Mrs Dalton was not able to give adequate chase to Mr Piccoli who polled 20,158 first preference votes, or 55.69 per cent.
Mrs Dalton also attempted to seek The Nationals pre-selection in his place in 2014.
Whoever it gets as its candidates, predictions are the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers will shake up the safe Coalition seat.
A survey of more than 1000 people conducted by Griffith-based newspaper The Area News found more than 81 per cent of people would vote for a Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate in Murray, while only 12 per cent said they would vote for a The Nationals candidate.
Former Murrumbidgee Shire mayor and soon to-be-elected Murrumbidgee Council councillor Austin Evans will seek The Nationals pre-selection, while Griffith’s Brian Mills has informed he will stand as an independent.
Early voting is expected to open on October 2.