Tight race for Liberals Wendouree seat: McIntosh, Coltman to fight it out

BALLARAT businessman Craig Coltman and Ballarat City councillor Samantha McIntosh will fight out Liberal Party preselection in the new state seat of Wendouree.

Both Mr Coltman and Cr McIntosh confirmed yesterday they will challenge for the seat after nominations closed late Friday.

Former Ballarat City councillor Ben Taylor, who narrowly missed victory in the last state election in the former seat of Ballarat East, was the only person to nominate in Buninyong but said he still had to go through a ratification process before he could be endorsed.

Mr Coltman stood in the seat of Ballarat West at the 2010 state election, losing to incumbent Sharon Knight but narrowing the margin to just over one per cent.

“I believe that Ballarat needs a really strong voice in Spring Street and I would like to represent the new seat of Wendouree,” Mr Coltman said.

He said expert predictions Wendouree would be a narrow Liberal seat under the recent state electoral boundary redistribution was “overstated a little”.

“I’m taking nothing for granted. Seats change a lot in four years.”

Cr McIntosh has previously stood for the National Party in Ballarat West in 2006, as a federal Liberal candidate for Ballarat in 2007 and was elected to Ballarat City Council in 2008 and re-elected in 2012.

Cr McIntosh said she nominated because she was “passionate about Ballarat”.

Mr Coltman and Cr McIntosh will now undergo a “robust” preselection system, with all of Ballarat’s Liberal Party members eligible to vote on their preferred candidate.

It is expected the Liberal Party candidate for Wendouree will be announced next month.

Current Ballarat Labor MPs Sharon Knight and Geoff Howard have also indicated they will run again in the November poll.

The Greens will open their preselection nominations next month.

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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