AS expected, the seat of Narracan was won by Liberal candidate Wayne Farnham.
Mr Farnham had secured 62.7 per cent of two-party preferred votes when 75 per cent of votes had been counted on election night.
Narracan voters went to the polls on Saturday, January 28 two months after the state election following the death of Nationals candidate Shaun Gilchrist.
Farnham is set to take over from retiring Liberal MP Gary Blackwood, who held the seat since 2006.
Mr Farnham’s election is tipped to be virtually a continuation of Mr Blackwood’s reign.
With Narracan a safe Liberal seat, the chances of a Farnham victory were always high (there has been just one non-Liberal MP serve the district since the seat was established in 1967).
The odds became even shorter when it was announced Labor would not be putting anyone up to run against him, while The Nationals opted not to find a replacement for Mr Gilchrist.
Given this, the election was seen as virtually a one-horse race in the eyes of many pundits.
A field of 11, mostly made up of independents – which included Baw Baw Shire Mayor, Annemarie McCabe – threw their hat in the ring.
From the outset, the Liberals main challenger appeared to be Independent and former Baw Baw deputy mayor, Tony Wolfe. Mr Wolfe secured 37.3 per cent.
Upon his election, Mr Farnham thanked those for the confidence they had shown in him.
“I think the people of Narracan realise that my message, which was ‘I have a team, I’m part of a really strong team,’ has resonated with them,” he told ABC.
“I just hope I can do them proud when I get in there.”
Mr Farnham said his main priority would be seeing the new West Gippsland Hospital, committed to by the Labor state government last year, come to fruition.
The new Member for Narracan grew up in the area, and worked in construction before entering politics.
While Labor convincingly won government at the November election, Farnham’s win does give the Coalition one more seat than it held after the 2018 state election.
Locally, the Liberals and Nationals now have elected members from Gippsland East all the way to Pakenham.
Nationals MPs Tim Bull and Danny O’Brien were re-elected in Gippsland East and Gippsland South respectively, while Martin Cameron took the seat of Morwell.
Liberal leader John Pesutto, himself a Gippsland boy (born in Traralgon), congratulated Mr Farnham on his victory
.“I congratulate and welcome Wayne Farnham to the parliamentary Liberal Party as the new Member for Narracan,” he said.
astrong local campaign, earning the trust of his community and demonstrating his ability to be a powerful and effective voice for Narracan.
“The effort he has displayed, along with his team, has been reflected in today’s result.
“Wayne has been a loud advocate for local issues such as the much-needed West Gippsland Hospital, and has proven he will work tirelessly in the interest of his local community.
“He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and I look forward to working closely with him over the next four years. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing Member for Narracan, Gary Blackwood, for his contribution and dedication to his local electorate and to the Victorian Liberal Party over the past 16 years.
“I wish him and his family well in retirement.”
While the Liberals will no doubt be celebrating their win, hopefully the new member doesn’t have as many comebacks as the other Farnham.