In what is a bittersweet victory, Nationals candidate Dugald Saunders has been declared as the winner in the seat of Dubbo while Labor is on-track to form government.
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"It feels pretty amazing [to be re-elected]," he told the Daily Liberal on Saturday night.
"It's been a very long few weeks to get to this point, a very long week of pre-polling. I've had a lovely time with all my volunteers today and tonight to celebrate it. We knew fairly early on I had taken the seat and indications are it will be a fairly commanding victory.
"But it does come with mixed emotions to be honest because I've also got people here that have worked for me in my ministerial role and took leave to come and be here in the electorate to be on booths.
"There's now a really uncertain future for them."
At 9:30pm on Saturday with 31.2 percent of the vote counted, Mr Saunders had tallied 50.47 percent of the primary vote - a significant lead on Labor contender Josh Black who attracted 23.98 percent and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Kate Richardson who earned 14.55 percent.
On a two-party preferred basis, Mr Saunders led Mr Black 68.4 percent to 31.6 percent - an 0.7 percent swing in the Nationals favour from the 2019 state election.
Mr Saunders was first voted into the seat in 2019 after sitting member Troy Grant retired. Since being elected into office, he has served as the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Western New South Wales under Dominic Perrottet.
With Labor on track to secure a majority government, this will be the first time Mr Saunders has served a term as a member of the opposition.
"It's a weird feeling, it's something I haven't experienced before. I had our federal member Mark Coulton join me here tonight and he's been through exactly this feeling so I've had a chat to him," said Mr Saunders.
"It'll be a weird feeling for a few days but at the end of the day my job is as member for Dubbo and I will continue to represent this region as I have for the past four years with my heart and soul and I'm really proud to be able to do that.
"I can say fairly openly and honestly that I have good relationships with people right across the board and I will be continuing to work hard for the people of this region based on the relationships I have with people on the opposition who will now be in government.
"I'm a person who always works towards a practical solution, it's not about trying to get the better of somebody."
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