A STAFFER for South West Coast MP Denis Napthine has lost a Liberal preselection battle for the state seat of Ripon.
Warrnambool-based Nathan Anderson entered the race to stand for the Western District electorate that covers Skipton, Ararat, Stawell and Maryborough.
But the staffer lost the bid to farmer and Institute of Public Affairs director Louise Staley at a branch vote of 70 members in Avoca on Wednesday night.
Ms Staley unsuccessfully sought preselection in Ripon at the 2010 election and for the federal seats of Wannon, Casey and Menzies.
“I’m elated and I really look forward to the challenge,” Ms Staley said.
Neither contestant lives in the electorate, although Ms Staley holds several community positions in the seat, including president of the board of Ararat Hospital.
Speaking to The Standard, Mr Anderson, 35, said his unsuccessful first tilt at politics had not dampened his enthusiasm to run again.
“I’ll have a look at my options, it’s still early days,” Mr Anderson said.
“I think I can help make a difference.
“There’s always going to be a loser in these things but I wish her all the best and I hope everybody gets behind her and helps her win the seat.”
Mr Anderson has worked at Dr Napthine’s local electorate office for the past seven years.
Ripon is held by retiring Labor MP Joe Helper.
Redistribution changes to Ripon’s electoral boundaries to take in Donald and Wedderburn, are expected to push the seat further in favour of the Liberal Party.