ADRIAN Piccoli has won the Nationals preselection for the new seat of Murray.
The NSW education minister will now go on to contest the next state election in March, 2015.
Mr Piccoli was expected to record victory and he confirmed his favouritism tag when he secured endorsement at a Nationals branch meeting in Hay on Saturday.
He received the majority of the 110 registered members’ votes and held off challenges from Binya hopeful Helen Dalton and Wakool wool broker David Landini.
Mr Piccoli told The Area News that he was happy to receive the backing of the Nationals members.
“I am, of course, very pleased,” he said. “There were 110 eligible voters so it was a pretty good turnout.”
Mr Piccoli said he was proud to be 100 per cent preselected by grassroots membership.
The process meant that Mr Piccoli had to prove himself again, despite being a senior member of state politics.
“It’s pretty unique in Australian politics – that’s why I’m a Nationals member,” he said.
“In other parties, they are influenced by external forces such as unions and head office to select their member.”
Mr Piccoli is the member for Murrumbidgee but will now represent Murray.
The Murrumbidgee electorate was abolished last year.
He said key issues included the Murray’s water, bridging the education gap between city and rural students, healthcare and aged care.
Mr Piccoli praised Ms Dalton and Mr Landini for providing a good tussle and said it was “the way it should be”.
The two unsuccessful nominees were both philosophical in defeat.
Ms Dalton said preselection was a very democratic process, while Mr Landini said it was conducted in a fair and open manner.
Ms Dalton is remaining upbeat despite the result.
“I threw my hat in the ring and I think I made a start,” she said.
Mr Landini said he was a “bit disappointed” and he could “only do my best”.
He said he put up a clear and concise discussion on issues that were key to him, which included water and foresty.