McCurdy leads race
Nationals on track despite result going to preferences
TIM McCurdy looks almost certain to retain the seat of Ovens Valley for the Nationals but for the first time since 2002 it has gone to preferences to be decided.
And local anti-violence campaigner Tania Maxwell (Derryn Hinch Justice Party) was right in contention to take one of five Upper House seats for Northern Victoria in her first venture into politics.
As of yesterday Mr McCurdy secured 45.26 per cent of the primary votes (55.45% in 2014) with 81.9 per cent of the votes counted with Labor’s Kate Doyle on 19.99 per cent (22.15% in 2014) and Independent Tammy Atkins on 19.86 per cent.
On second preferences Mr McCurdy jumped to 63.33 per cent with Ms Doyle on 36.67 per cent.
Mr McCurdy won the most votes at every booth except one, Wandiligong, where Ms Doyle scored three more votes.
“It’s not done yet, there’s still a couple of thousand votes to go, but there have been good preference numbers for us so far,” said the Nationals incumbent since 2010.
“I’m thrilled there has been a lot of voters who didn’t give me their primary vote but gave me their second preference.
“If people really didn’t like the job I was doing they could have done just that and put me further down the ballot.”
Mr McCurdy said it appeared the Nationals would lose just one seat (Mildura) following Saturday’s result which saw their Coalition partner’s support decimated and Labor increase its majority in State Parliament.
“The message out of Mel- bourne (Liberals) was all on broad issues but when it comes to your electorate it’s local issues that count,” he said.
“You’ve got to see it, touch it, smell it.”
Mr McCurdy said he was unaware about the full page advert in Friday’s Wangaratta Chronicle authorised by the National Party’s state office attacking Tammy Atkins until he saw it in the paper.
“I don’t like it and I think Ovens Valley voters prefer the positive message which is why our campaign was a positive one,” he said.
Mr McCurdy said, however, that the negativity did go both ways at times, particularly at some of the polling booths on Saturday.
“Whether that was due to the advert I don’t know but it it’s not all one-sided,” he said.
DECISION TIME: Smaller crowds flocked to the Myrtleford Uniting Church Hall on Saturday after the popularity of the relaxed pre-polling rules. Tim McCurdy won the vote at the Myrtleford booth and is expected to retain his seat.