Jane Kelsbie believes Mark McGowan has given her a ‘good chance’ of defeating Terry Redman in Warren-Blackwood
Labor candidate for Warren-Blackwood Jane Kelsbie says she feels nervous and excited ahead of tonight’s vote count with the popularity of Premier Mark McGowan giving her a “good chance” of dethroning Nationals WA rival Terry Redman.
Ms Kelsbie faces an uphill battle to beat Mr Redman, a former Nationals WA leader who attracted 36.6 per cent of the primary vote at the 2017 State election to win the seat comfortably.
But like Labor candidates all over WA, her vote could surge as she rides a wave of good will generated by the McGowan Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
“I’m actually quite excited,” Ms Kelsbie said in Manjimup today.
“It’s quite nerve-racking and it’s a massive gap — a 12.8% swing would be needed to beat Terry and the Nationals — but the way McGowan has governed the State I think there’s a good chance.
“And if not this year, I’m coming for him in four years.”
The electorate of Warren-Blackwood covers more than 23,000km in the South West of the State, from Margaret River east to Stirling Range National Park.
Both Ms Kelsbie and Mr Redman hail from the south coast town of Denmark.
While Ms Kelsbie cast her vote in Manjimup, Mr Redman spent the morning speaking to voters in his hometown, which he has represented in State Parliament for 16 years.
The former Nationals WA leader has prevailed at four consecutive elections — in Stirling (2005), Blackwood-Stirling (2008) and Warren-Blackwood (2013 and 2017).
“It’s a most unusual election this year,” Mr Redman said.
“I think the COVID veil over everything has thrown up some curve balls on a range of fronts.
“It’s been a very difficult to get, in my opinion, the real issues onto the table because COVID’s dominated a lot of the public discussion.
“That said, I’m feeling confident but not complacent about the outcome of this election and we’ll be fighting right to the end.”
Mr Redman would not be drawn on the potential for his party to form Opposition in the event of a Liberal Party wipe-out — or his interest in any subsequent leadership roles.
“The priority for us now is to win as many seats as we possibly can,” he said.
“That’s our target and that’s what we’re focused on right now. I think any discussions like that will be post-election.”
Mr Redman put his political longevity down to the success of the Royalties for Regions program, which had been “gutted” by Labor.
“We’re undertaking this election to bring it back,” he said.
Also running for Warren-Blackwood is Liberal Party candidate Marie O’Dea, a farmer and Shire of Plantagenet councillor.
Regenerative farmer Jeff Power, from Blackwood Valley, is contesting the seat for The Greens.
The other five candidates are Steven Regterschot (One Nation), Paul Da Silva (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers), Nick Lethbridge (Legalise Cannabis WA Party), Peter Strachan (Sustainable Australia Party) and Helen Allan (No Mandatory Vaccination).
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