Terang contender back in Liberals preselection race

BALLARAT VISIT: Premier Denis Napthine, left, and Mayor Joshua Morris during a tour of the Ballarat Railway Station earlier this year. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

BALLARAT VISIT: Premier Denis Napthine, left, and Mayor Joshua Morris during a tour of the Ballarat Railway Station earlier this year. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

A PRESELECTION re-run is set to take place for the Liberal Party’s upper house ticket with a south-west contender in the mix.

Terang solicitor Ian Pugh, Ballarat City councillor Samantha McIntosh and policy adviser Rod Nockles are expected to recontest the Western Victoria seat they previously battled for three months ago.

The vacancy follows the forced resignation of lawyer Aaron Lane from the Coalition ticket last week after a series of crude social media messages were made public.

Incumbent MP Simon Ramsay and Mr Lane were placed first and second on the upper house ballot after the Liberal Party preselection in May, with Mr Pugh, Cr McIntosh and Cr Nockles filling out the remaining places.

Whoever gains the Liberal second position is almost guaranteed to be a Western Victoria MP at the November state election due to the upper house’s proportional voting system.

Ballarat mayor Josh Morris has also been suggested as a contender although when contacted by Fairfax Media yesterday, he said it “would be inappropriate to comment” at the time and directed all queries to party headquarters.

The Liberal Party’s administrative committee will meet tomorrow night to discuss the issues and decide on whether another person will replace Mr Lane’s nomination.

Cr Morris is a member of the administrative committee which includes Premier Denis Napthine and state president Tony Snell.

The Terang-based Mr Pugh is the only south-west contender likely to be involved in the preselection process if another ballot is staged. 

Mr Pugh was contacted by The Standard yesterday but did not return calls.

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