Nationals seek a party candidate for Coffs Harbour
THE electorate council of the Nationals Coffs Harbour branch will next month decide upon preselecting a candidate to replace retiring State Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser.
Mr Fraser last month revealed that after 28 years in State Parliament he would be stepping down at the 2019 State Election in March.
Since Mr Fraser's announcement, Nationals Coffs Harbour branch chairman John F. Sercombe said there had been strong interest from party members indicating they would stand for preselection.
"We'll find (a candidate) although with the inquiries that we've had so far we won't be short on numbers," he said.
"If the inquiry is anything to go by, there will be people who are only recent members standing for preselection, remembering of course you have to have been a party member for six months in order to stand.
"The only way you can stand if you haven't been a member for six months is if the Central Council specially says that you can."
He said the electorate council would meet early in August to determine how the preselection process would run in Coffs Harbour.
"During that meeting we will decide upon when we are going to have the preselection, how long it will be and whether the preselection is going to be solely decided by the electorate council or whether the electorate council will decide to cull the people who have made their intention to stand."
Mr Sercombe said it was crucial the party retained the seat of Coffs Harbour given the electorate's standing as a National Party stronghold.
The State Election in March also coincides with the 100th anniversary year of the National Party, which traces its history back to a meeting in Northern New South Wales in 1919.
"Given the good example of Andrew Fraser and no doubt the great mentoring that that person (who is preselected) will receive, they'll be a great representative of Coffs Harbour," Mr Sercombe said.
As for political opponents, he said he expected many names to feature on the election-day ballot paper.
"I would think anybody that you can think of will come out of the woodwork."