ONLY the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party can really know just what hope they give themselves of causing an electoral upset in Bathurst next March.
Party officials were certainly bullish about their chances as Brenden May was revealed on Monday as their candidate for the 2019 state election, but you would expect nothing less at a campaign launch.
But the question between now and next March will be, did they leave their run too late?
The current term has been a tough one for the state government with a change of premier, change of deputy premier and damaging backflips on several fronts – most notably council amalgamations and a bid to ban greyhound racing.
In the midst of those contentious issues came the shock by-election loss in Orange, which also brought a new party, the SFF, and an articulate and popular new MP, Phil Donato, into the Lower House.
But it was more than a year ago that the SFF boldly claimed it was planning an all-out assault on Nationals-held seats across NSW, hoping to capitalise on voter dissatisfaction with the major parties and to build on the momentum started with that Orange victory.
Bathurst was one of the seats the SFF vowed to target, but the search for a candidate took a lot more time and a lot more setbacks than anyone had expected.
That has cost the SFF valuable time in building the profile of a candidate who is starting light years behind the incumbent MP Paul Toole in terms of local recognition, and has left Mr May with just seven months to detail his vision for the seat rather than the year-and-a-half the party had originally hoped..
At the same time, the state government under Gladys Berejiklian and John Barilaro has dealt with some of those more contentious issues while building a strong and, apparently, united team.
The Coalition Government looks much more electable than 12 months ago and Mr May won’t have the advantage of a by-election protest vote to boost his polling.
So, from the outside at least, winning the seat of Bathurst looks like an impossible dream for the SFF, but they would seem a realistic chance of at least heavily reducing Mr Toole’s commanding 15 per cent margin.
Only those within the party can know if that would be enough for them to consider the campaign a success.