Dubbo MP Troy Grant is remaining tight lipped about his political future as reports suggest he could succeed Andrew Stoner as leader of the National Party and the deputy Premier of NSW on Thursday morning.
Mr Stoner announced on Wednesday that he would retirement from parliament at the upcoming election and made the decision to step down as party leader immediately, which has triggered a ballot.
It is understood Mr Grant, who is the Minister for Hospitality, Gaming and Racing and Minister for the Arts, will contest the leadership against Education Minister Adrian Piccoli with some predicting that Mr Grant is the favourite.
Mr Grant was available for comment yesterday afternoon because of parliamentary duties but in a one-line statement he neither confirmed or denied that he would run.
"My focus is on representing the interests of the people of Dubbo to the best of my ability and work hard as a Minister in the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government," he said.
If he is elected, it would cap a meteoric rise for the former policeman, who is still in his first term in politics.
He ousted Independent Dawn Fardell at the 2011 election and was promoted to Cabinet earlier this year, being given the portfolios of Gaming, Racing and the Arts.
There are 19 Nationals MPs in the NSW and a further seven members in the Legislative Council but they look set to lose a lot of experience next March, with veterans George Souris and Don Page also choosing to retire after losing portfolios in the April Cabinet reshuffle.