Paul Toole preselected for 2019 state election

SEEKING A THIRD TERM: Oberon's state member Paul Toole, pictured at Mayfield Garden earlier in the winter, will be the Nationals' candidate again in 2019.

SEEKING A THIRD TERM: Oberon's state member Paul Toole, pictured at Mayfield Garden earlier in the winter, will be the Nationals' candidate again in 2019.

OBERON’S state member, Paul Toole, has been confirmed as the Nationals’ candidate for the 2019 NSW election, but there are no other names on the ballot so far.

The NSW Nationals’ Bathurst State Electorate Council met recently to formally preselect Mr Toole to recontest the seat of Bathurst, which he has held since 2011.

He currently holds the seat with a commanding 15 per cent margin and said he was looking forward to mounting a new campaign.

“I thank [Nationals] members for once again entrusting me to seek election as the Member for Bathurst - a role, though challenging at times, I have thoroughly enjoyed,” Mr Toole said.

“Elections are always hard work and I look forward to the challenge of being re-elected for a third term.”

With just eight months until polling day, however, no other candidate has yet been confirmed for the seat of Bathurst.

Oberon’s sister paper the Western Advocate understands the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party has settled on a candidate following a search of more than a year, but a spokesperson said the party was not yet ready to reveal who it was.

An announcement is expected within a week or so.

The Labor Party is being even more secretive, not responding to inquiries from the Western Advocate.

A spokesperson for the local branch referred the Advocate to Labor’s head office in Sydney, but that’s where the trail went cold.

Lithgow councillor Cassandra Coleman contested the seat for Labor in 2015, picking up just 27 per cent of the primary vote.

The SFF has not previously contested an election in Bathurst but was buoyed by Phil Donato’s by-election win in Orange in 2016.

Mr Toole has had a mixed relationship with Oberon during his almost two terms in the seat.

As Minister for Local Government, before he lost the position in a reshuffle, Mr Toole pushed strongly for Oberon and Bathurst councils to merge. That merger was eventually abandoned after Mike Baird stepped down as premier.