The National Party is so desperate to capture the state seat of Wagga Wagga that a highly respected former federal MP might put their hand up for nomination.
Sources inside the National Party said former Riverina MP Kay Hull has spoken of nominating if the field of potential byelection candidates was not good enough.
Ms Hull, who did not return calls yesterday, retired from federal politics in 2010.
Wagga MP Daryl Maguire’s decision to quit the Liberal Party last week in the face of a damaging anti-corruption hearing has created a power and information vacuum.
The major parties have continued to prepare for a state election despite not knowing when the region might go to the polls.
Wagga company director Genevieve Fleming said she could not comment on speculation she is the Liberal Party’s preferred candidate.
Snowy Valleys deputy mayor John Larter has also said he was willing to nominate for the Liberals.
Sources have said Cross Border Commissioner James McTavish had been approached by the Nationals and Liberals. Mr McTavish did not respond to a request for comment.
Wagga councillor Paul Funnell said he had not nominated for a party but could not “rule anything in or out” in terms of becoming involved in the election in the future.
The Nationals have planned for Mr Maguire to quit parliament entirely, triggering a byelection and allowing them to run a candidate in Wagga without breaking the Coalition agreement.
Charles Sturt University associate professor in political science Dominic O’Sullivan said the potential for the conservative parties to run against each other would put the Coalition under strain.
“They will work it out but they will want to work it out behind closed doors,” he said.
Professor O’Sullivan said Nationals seats were under pressure and they would put every effort into taking Wagga, a Liberal island surrounded by farming areas.
The Nationals saw another nominee put their hand up on Friday with Wagga business owner Rory McKenzie following Wagga financial advisor Julian McLaren’s announcement on Wednesday.
Mr McKenzie said he would campaign on healthcare and “getting the infrastructure of the future in Wagga”.
“I understand what young people are going through in terms of difficulties in buying a first home,” he said.
Former Wagga Business Chamber manager Annabel Williams would neither confirm nor deny that she would also nominate for the Nationals and sources consider Mr McLaren to be the current frontrunner.
Labor this week announced Wagga councillor Dan Hayes as its candidate.