THE NATIONALS' stronghold on the Riverina has deterred more minor parties and independents from running in the 2019 federal election, according to a political expert.
The statement by Dominic O'Sullivan, Charles Sturt University's political science professor, comes after Mr McCormack, one of four candidates, on Wednesday drew the coveted position of number one on the ballot paper for the May 18 election.
Mr McCormack was followed by the Greens' Michael Bayles, Labor Party's Mark Jeffreson and United Australia's Richard Foley.
The last time there was only four candidates was during the 2004 election when The Nationals' Kay Hull was elected.
In 2016, there were six candidates while 2013 had 10.
Mr O'Sullivan said that while the reduction from six to four was not significant, it does perhaps suggest that independents and minor parties do not believe they had strong chances.
"The Riverina is a very safe seat for The Nationals, so other than the other major parties, nobody else has realistic expectation of winning the seat," Mr O'Sullivan said.
"You're going to get minor candidates standing to make a distinctive point or perhaps even just for fun."
However, he said the fewer candidates "should not be read into too much".
"If there had been a drop of 20 to four, maybe we'd start looking for explanations," he said.
Asked whether more independents should have nominated themselves after Dr Joe McGirr was elected as the independent state member, Mr O'Sullivan said the circumstances differ.
"Independents succeed in very unique circumstances and I don't think those sorts of circumstances apply in the Riverina," he said.
"Now people might say Michael McCormack has not been a terribly effective leader, but he's not an offensive candidate in the way that some people would find [Tony] Abbott or Sophie Mirabella [Indi electorate]," he said.
"The other thing perhaps give an independent a chance is if it's somebody with a very high local profile perhaps because they've taken on a popular local cause like McGirr did in the byelection."
Mr O'Sullivan also said the number one position on the ballot plays an insignificant role in the Riverina because of The Nationals' stronghold.
He said he expects Mr McCormack to retain the seat but not without a swing against him.
Candidates speak after ballot draw
On Wednesday, Mr McCormack reminded constituents about his work in improving infrastructure, health and economies across the electorate.
He cited the Kapooka Bridge upgrade, Wagga's Rural Clinical School funding and roads funding increase.
"I've been delivering for the Riverina since I was elected in 2010," he said.
"You only have to look at the record amount of funding that we've invested in hospitals, in schools.
"[There is a] 25 per cent increase in the Roads to Recovery funding for each of the 12 local government areas that I represent."
UAP candidate Richard Foley said the party has "policies I believe are going to fundamentally transform this country".
"This country is in peril and it needs a total change of direction and neither of the major parties are going to give us that," Mr Foley said.
"Our intent is to be holding the balance of power at the next government.
"We've got empty dams; rivers drying up; and, scandals left, right and centre."
ALP candidate Mark Jeffreson said it is only the incumbent Riverina MP who thinks The Nationals are safe in the electorate.
"We don't think his seat's safe, we think that regional Australia has been let down by The Nationals," Mr Jeffreson said.
"He has nothing to say about climate change except we should all pray for rain - that's not a solution to it.
"We're the only ones taking reasonable and proper actions on mitigating climate change."
Similarly, Greens' candidate Michael Bayles said this election will be fought on the major issue of climate change.
"We've got a plan to tackle all that with our climate change policy - to transfer over to renewables by 2030," Mr Bayles said.
"We've got a fully costed plan and in doing so, will generate 170,000 new jobs."