Devastation, shock and frustration are the emotions of former candidates that vyed for the seat of Wagga following revelations that disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire and the NSW Premier had a "close personal relationship".
It was explosive day of testimony before the Independent Commission Against Corruption on Monday, during which NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian revealed a secret five-year relationship with Mr Maguire that ended just a few months ago.
Ms Berejiklian has refused calls for her to resign over her admissions, saying while she "stuffed up" in her personal life she hasn't done anything wrong.
ICAC is investigating allegations that Mr Maguire breached public trust and used parliamentary resources for personal gain from 2012 to August 2018.
Ms Berejiklian is not accused of any wrongdoing.
Mr Maguire's resignation in 2018 triggered a byelection that saw the Liberals lose the Wagga electorate, which they had held for 57 years, to independent Joe McGirr.
Five of the seven candidates from that election shared their thoughts on the recent revelations with The Daily Advertiser.
Julia Ham, Liberal candidate
Julia Ham, the Liberal party candidate and current president of the branch in Wagga, said she continues to support Ms Berejiklian as premier of NSW.
She added that she holds the premier in the highest esteem and it was imperative to wait for the recommendations from ICAC before leaping to any conclusions.
"Her dedication to her job and NSW shines through," Ms Ham said.
"I can say having say spent a lot of time with Gladys, I hold her in the highest esteem and the highest of integrity and have no doubt that she had no idea what was going on."
Ms Ham said the recent events have been shattering for the group of volunteers that form the Wagga Liberal Party.
Joe McGirr, Independent candidate and current Wagga MP
Joe McGirr ran as an independent in the byelection and, in an upset for the Liberal Party, was elected as MP.
In a statement, Dr McGirr said he was stunned by Monday's proceedings but added this was a matter that ICAC is pursuing and he would respect the process.
"I will be watching with a lot of interest what happens at ICAC for the rest of this week," he said.
"Many people in the community have great respect for the way Premier Gladys Berejiklian has led the state through the crises of the bushfires and COVID, and I certainly have appreciated and thanked her for her leadership.
"I do note, in a general sense, that the management of conflicts of interest is critical to maintaining trust in government."
Ray Goodlass, The Greens candidate
Ray Goodlass, the Greens candidate in the byelection, cautioned against jumping to conclusions based off one day's worth of media reports.
"I am not going to jump on the bandwagon and say Ms Berejiklian must resign going on a few sensationalist media reports - that is not a wise route to take," he said.
"But, if I were her, I would step aside until ICAC has finished its work.
"That seems to me to be a very sensible thing, based on the fact that we know Daryl and Gladys were in a close relationship for the last five years."
Mr Goodlass said watching the hearings in the past few weeks has made it all the more apparent that anti-corruption authority is a crucial element in holding the government to account.
"I am very disappointed that a man the people of Wagga elected for many years turned out to be involved in deals that are improper," he said.
"Thank goodness for ICAC. We must treasure ICAC, and it needs to be strengthened and supported even more."
Paul Funnell, Independent candidate
Paul Funnell, a second independent candidate at the 2018 byelection, said although not much had surprised him during ICAC's first two weeks of hearings, he was "astounded" by Monday's news.
He added although he does not know "what she has or has not done", Ms Berijiklian's position is no longer tenable.
"I have always said, just because something is not illegal does not make it right," Mr Funnell said.
"It does not pass the pub test. I am not commenting on her personal life here, however, that is not my business."
Daniel Hayes, Country Labor candidate
Daniel Hayes, the Country Labor candidate, said it was important to remember during discussions that what politicians do in their personal life is up to them.
But, he added, the most damning revelation is what Mr Maguire spent his time doing.
"I would question whether he spent any time fighting for Wagga unless he was looking to benefit in one way or another," Mr Hayes said.
"As for the premier, there is still many questions left unanswered as to what she knew and when she knew it.
"From what we know, I do not see how her position can continue. What we heard yesterday was turning a blind eye to what he was up to, and it was ICAC who pushed these things further."
Mr Hayes said the only one "who seems to be fighting the Liberal corruption is ICAC."
What has the premier said?
Despite calls from the state's opposition leader Jodi McKay for her resignation, Ms Berejiklian said she would not because she "did not do anything wrong".
"Had I known then what I know now, of course I would not have had anything to do with him, but I did not know the extent of what he was alleged to have done."
Ms Berejiklian continued to describe the ordeal as a "personal nightmare" that has been "devastating" to experience.
"I am human and I stuffed up in my personal life," she said.
"As someone who is extremely private and cautious and conservative in the way she leads her life, it has been very difficult to have that out on full display.
"I want the public to know that never ever have I done anything but to completely serve the public. Never ever have I done anything that was not the highest standard of integrity.
"Where I have failed is in my personal life and I accept that and take full responsibility for that."