Wannon MP Dan Dehan will have a big role to play in rebuilding the Liberal Party if, as polls predict, it loses the election on Saturday, according to a leading political commentator.
Monash University senior lecturer of social sciences Nick Economou, who has been analysing elections since the mid-1980s, said he couldn't see anyone other than Mr Tehan winning the seat of Wannon on Saturday.
"The more interesting thing is if, as I expect, the Coalition loses, what role will he play in the reconstruction of the Liberal Party?" Mr Economou said.
"He will now be thrust into the position of one of the senior Victorian Liberal MPs and it's going to fall on people like him to try and do something about this party that has got itself in a terrible mess, especially in Victoria."
Mr Economou said the seat of Wannon had been made safer for the Liberal Party as a result of a redistribution in June 2018, increasing his margin from nine per cent to 9.2 per cent.
While he had picked up some Labor Party voting booths on the outskirts of Ballarat in the redistribution, it was easily offset by the addition of strong Liberal Party voting booths near Colac, he said.
Mr Economou said that at the last election Colac booths recorded between 58 and 80 per cent voting for the Coalition.
"You don't get bigger than that," he said.
"I can't see anyone winning this other than Dan Tehan.
"It would be a disaster for the Liberal Party if he didn't win it. There's been times where it's been a narrow win ... I can't see it not being won by the Liberals"
He said Mr Tehan was unlikely to be completely immune from the predicted swing against the government, it "won't be of such magnitude as to wipe away seats like Wannon".
Mr Economou said the election could technically make Wannon a marginal seat but at the next election it would swing back to its more normal status as mid-range safe for the Liberal Party.
He added that there were few surprises in the way preferences were expected to flow in Wannon.
He described the Greens' candidate Sephlyn Taylor directing her second preferences to Alex Dyson as "just begin cute".
"That doesn't mean anything because there's no way Alex Dyson's going to win the seat. Those Green preferences flow through to Labor," he said.
"He'd be lucky to get one per cent of the vote wouldn't he?
"The only thing that's important there is if they're referencing Labor above Liberal or the other way around."
He said the Greens were directing their preferences in the Senate to the Animal Justice Party over Labor because they were in a "bit of trouble in Victoria".
Mr Economou said with the Labor Party giving its second preference to the Derryn Hinch Justice Party, the Greens would need to get 14.4 per cent of the primary vote to get a seat.
Wannon's Labour candidate Maurice Billi will direct his preferences to the Greens in the lower house followed by Mr Dyson. It has placed Mr Tehan fourth ahead of the United Australia Party's Joshua Wallace.
Mr Dyson will direct his preferences to Labor, while Mr Wallace will direct his preferences to the Liberal Party.
Mr Tehan has directed preferences to the UAP in both the lower house and Senate.
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