THERE were no surprises at Bathurst Panthers on Saturday when state member for Orange Andrew Gee claimed victory in the Nationals preselection ballot for the federal seat of Calare.
The announcement was made to a full house of Nationals members, 385 of which were eligible to vote in the ballot.
Mr Gee was the hot favourite going into preselection, with betting agency Sportsbet placing his odds at $1.45 on Friday afternoon to trounce his opposition.
Mr Gee told the Western Advocate he felt "very humbled, exhausted and relieved" to be selected by members.
"All of the candidates have fought hard to get their agendas in front of party members and I was lucky enough and fortunate enough to be elected as the candidate today," he said.
"Preselections are very grueling and they take a toll on all candidates and their families, and so I think it is important to acknowledge the amount of work all of the candidates put in, not only today, but over the last eight or nine weeks."
Mr Gee will replace John Cobb as the Nationals candidate when he retires at the next federal election.