Wagga Wagga medico Dr Joe McGirr has won the Wagga Wagga by-election after the distribution of preferences today (Friday).
In a close vote before all preferences were distributed, Independent Dr McGirr, in the end recorded a convincing victory over Liberal Julia Ham, ending 60 years of Liberal reign in the state seat of Wagga Wagga.
The vote went down to the wire at one point during the distribution of preferences, with even Ham leading at one stage. But when the Labor candidate Dan Hayes was excluded, a swathe of votes went to Dr McGirr, in the end giving him a convincing victory of 23,001 votes (59.63 per cent) to Ham’s 15,570 (40.37pc).
The Liberals suffered almost a 30 per cent swing against it in the primary vote.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian now faces a big six months to win back the public favour before the state election in March next year. Before the election she indicated it would be miraculous to hold the seat after the ructions in the Federal leadership and the loss of the previous member due to a corruption inquiry.
The Nationals did not enter a candidate but now seem likely to at the next election, meaning the Liberals may struggle to ever win the seat back, ending their rural foothold.