WANNON’S highest ever polling independent candidate will not return to face this year’s federal election.
Port Fairy accountant James Purcell ruled out running in the ballot this week after considering his chances at taking a second run at the blue ribbon Liberal seat.
Mr Purcell claimed 5.59 per cent of the vote at the 2010 state election, placing him fourth behind the major parties. Mr Purcell is a long-serving member of Moyne Shire Council.
Mr Purcell said he had no motivation to front a campaign towards the September 14 polling date.
“When I stood at the last election it was a protest against the parties parachuting candidates into the seat,” Mr Purcell said.
He also pointed to the geographic challenges facing independents to become known across the 33,854-square-kilometre seat.
“It’s a huge area to cover and it’s unbelievably difficult,” Mr Purcell said.
“I spent a number of months travelling and meeting people.”
But Mr Purcell urged other independents to help push the vote away from the major parties and put south-west Victoria on the political radar.
“I have no doubt that if we were marginal, Peter’s Project would be funded by now,” Mr Purcell told The Standard yesterday.
“It will be a conservative electorate for the next 20 years.”
But Mr Purcell did not rule out running in the next state election where he claimed 11.53 per cent of the vote in 2010.
Another high polling independent from the last federal election — Southern Grampians Shire councillor Katrina Rainsford — remained tight-lipped on whether she would pursue the seat again.
“I’m keeping my powder dry,” Ms Rainsford told The Standard. Ms Rainsford echoed Mr Purcell’s calls for the seat to become more marginal.
“Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard are in a bidding war for western Sydney — wouldn’t it be good if it was western Victoria,” Ms Rainsford said.
However, she said a high number of independents in the 2010 election had created a “diluted” ballot.
Fellow 2010 independent candidate Robert O’Brien said he was yet to make a decision on the matter.