SEVERAL parliamentary hopefuls including the Premier’s Warrnambool office manager are expected to run in the Liberal Party pre-selection for the ultra-marginal Ripon electorate.
Denis Napthine’s electorate officer Nathan Anderson will throw his hat into the ring as will Ballarat City councillor Amy Johnson, one of Victoria’s youngest municipal representatives.
Ripon is held by former agriculture minister Joe Helper, who will retire at the November 29 election, creating a three-horse race between the Liberal, Labor and National parties.
All three major parties are yet to finalise their respective pre-selections although no Labor Party members have been identified as yet to be contenders to replace Mr Helper as the ALP Ripon candidate.
Alongside Mr Anderson and Cr Johnson, other prospective Liberal preselection candidates include winery owner John van Beveren and Institute of Public Affairs researcher Louise Staley.
Both Mr van Beveren and Ms Staley lost Liberal Party preselection for Ripon to police officer Vic Dunn prior to the 2010 state election.
Mr Anderson has served as an electorate officer for Dr Napthine for the past seven years.
He gained a Bachelor of Arts from Deakin University in Geelong before working as a journalist in Melbourne radio and regional newspapers.
Mr Anderson confirmed he was seeking preselection but could not comment further due to party rules.
Cr Johnson became Ballarat’s youngest female councillor when she won a seat at the 2012 municipal elections.
She has worked as a health promotions officer and serves as Liberal Party Ballarat branch vice-president.
Cr Johnson did not respond to calls made by The Standard.
Following a statewide redistribution last year, Ripon has shifted northwards and now represents the Ararat, Stawell, Avoca, Wedderburn, Dunolly, Creswick and Donald districts.
The seat was held by the Labor Party on a 2 per cent margin but is now notionally Liberal following the redistribution.