National Party members to elect Lowan candidate

NATIONAL Party members will meet in Horsham on Saturday to choose the party’s election candidate for Lowan.

Party members in the electorate will attend a private meeting and vote for their preferred candidate at the Department of Environment and Primary Industries’ Grains Innovation Park at Horsham West.

Five candidates are vying for the right to stand for the seat which has been held by Nationals Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty since 1999.

Mr Delahunty, a former Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Veterans Affairs, will retire at the November state election.

The candidates are Horsham Mayor David Grimble, Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital chief executive Emma Kealy, businesswoman Andrea Cross, football administrator Bruce Petering and seasonal wool classer and tipper driver Russell McKenzie.

Candidates will address the meeting after which members will vote in an exhaustive ballot to decide the winner.

With the Liberal Party not fielding a candidate and Labor candidate Bob Scates needing a 22 per cent swing to win the seat, the winner of Saturday's pre-selection battle will be all but assured of being elected the next Member for Lowan in November.

Saturday's meeting will be closed to non-party members and the media.

National Party rules prevent the candidates from speaking to the media before the winner is confirmed.

Nationals Lowan district council president Greg Walcott said he expected about 120 party members to attend the ballot, with about 100 already registered.

He said there were more than 300 party members in the electorate.

The Greens will run a candidate in Lowan, but are yet to finalise a timeline for their pre-selection.

Australian Country Alliance secretary Darren Cooper said the party was discussing pre-selection with a Wimmera businessman and hoped to make an announcement in coming weeks.

The Palmer United Party is in the process of registering the party to be able to contest seats at November’s election.

It is unclear whether they will field a candidate in Lowan.

Family First could not be contacted for comment.

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