The election picture for the seat of Cowper is becoming clearer with three candidates known after weekend preselection announcements.
The election picture for the seat of Cowper is becoming clearer with three candidates known after weekend preselection announcements. The Northern Star Archives

Bid to challenge Nationals' dominance in Cowper

WHILE the date of the next Federal election remains clouded, the picture Cowper voters will be facing at that election has become clearer.

Both the National and Labor parties announced their pre-selected Cowper candidates on the weekend.

As expected, long-serving MP Luke Hartsuyker has received the nod to once again be the candidate for the Nationals while Coffs Harbour resident Damian Wood has been endorsed as the Labor candidate.

Taking on both of them will be Carol Vernon who was announced as the candidate for The Greens in October.

Mr Woods said he'll be running a grassroots campaign leading up to the election and said while he's obviously in the race to win, he hopes at the very least he can help to make Cowper a more marginal seat.

"Basically, I'm trying to change the political landscape in this town," Mr Wood said.

"It's been so one-sided for so long that I think people have grown accustomed to nothing happening."

In the 2013 election, Mrs Vernon enjoyed a positive swing in Cowper of 3.3% to The Greens.

She believes another positive result is on the cards when constituents next go to the polls.

"The support I have received from voters in previous elections, and the continuing support I receive from our local Greens groups and supporters, greatly encourages me," Mrs Vernon said.

The Nationals will be short priced favourites to once again retain the seat it has held for 113 of the 115 years since Federation.

Mr Hartsuyker said he's looking forward to continuing his work for the local constituents.

"It's a great honour to have represented the people of Cowper for the last 14 years," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"If I'm given the privilege of being re-elected as the Federal Member for Cowper, I remain committed to delivering the very best outcomes for the electorate which, at this election, will now include the two vibrant North Coast cities of Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie."

Port Macquarie was included after a redistribution of Federal boundaries.



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