Member for Dubbo Troy Grant’s decision not to contest the seat in 2019 will make for an interesting contest, according to member for Orange Phil Donato.
Mr Grant made the announcement on Thursday morning, saying running again was not the right decision for himself nor his family.
Mr Donato recalled Mr Grant had to resign as deputy premier and the leader of The Nationals not long after he won the Orange byelection due to fallout from the greyhound ban and council amalgamations.
He was unaware of polling in the area, but thought lingering concern about re-election might have been a factor.
“It was a pretty difficult time in his career, it would have been a lot to swallow,” he said.
“I wish him well.”
Without an incumbent to contest the seat, Mr Donato said Mr Grant’s decision would make the election tighter given the possible number of independents.
“There’s a lot of people putting their hands up and campaigning pretty hard over the past couple of months,” he said.
He said a Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate would stand if the party found the right person.
Nationals candidate for Orange Yvette Quinn first heard of Mr Grant’s resignation through the media.
Asked whether there was ongoing concern about the party’s ability to retain Bathurst and Dubbo and reclaim Orange, Ms Quinn said she was focusing on her seat.
“The vibe here has been really positive – when I’ve been out, people have been polite,” she said.
Mr Grant said it had been an honour to be the voice of the Dubbo electorate since 2011.
“I’ve been focused on making sure our area, which was previously out of sight and mostly out of mind, became a priority for investment,” he said.
THE BACK AND FORTH …
He made the announcement on social media.
“To serve your community as a regional MP, you need to make enormous sacrifices and put your heart and soul into the role, and I can no longer give this role my all after the next election,” he said.
“I cannot thank my family enough for allowing me to serve and I’ll be forever grateful for their love, support and sacrifice.”