"WE have retained the seat of Calare."
At 9.20pm Andrew Gee confirmed what most had suspected much earlier in the evening but there was still a resounding cheer from his family, staff and The National Party faithful who gathered at the Orange City Bowling Club to hear the progress of the Federal Election on Saturday night.
At noon on Sunday 98,929 of Calare's 121,564 eligible votes had been counted and Mr Gee had increased his lead to 48.07 per cent of the primary vote, or 45,678 votes, representing a 3.36 swing his way and enabling The Nationals' to main their iron grip on Calare.
Independent Kate Hook had 20.86 per cent, or 19,820 primary votes, while Labor endured a 7.28 per cent swing against them with candidate Sarah Elliott claiming 14.85 per cent (14,112 primary votes), One Nation's Stacey Whittaker 8.32 per cent (7,903), the Greens Kay Nankervis 4.17 per cent (3,961), and the UAP claiming 3.73 per cent (3545).
In claiming the win, Mr Gee thanked his family and friends for their support and his staff for their commitment and work throughout a long campaign.
It's a very strong endorsement and I'm very grateful for it.- Member for Calare Andrew Gee
"Political campaigns are never easy," he said.
"It doesn't matter if you're from a big party ... you never really know until the results are in and it's hard to get a gauge as to how it's going, I was at Bletchington (on Saturday) and a lot of people weren't taking how-to-votes so it's very difficult to know how you're going.
"It's one of those things, everyone always hopes for the best - it's been a strong result and, yeah, it's been a relief to actually win."
During his speech last night, Mr Gee said he felt humbled by the result.
"It's a very strong endorsement and I'm very grateful for it."
Mr Gee also paid tribute to his opponents who he said he had become quite familiar with during the campaign.
"One of the things politics is about is the battle of ideas, that's what democracy is all about," he said.
Despite Mr Gee's resounding win, the Coalition Government was in trouble on Saturday night meaning he will likely serve Calare in opposition.
"I'll just have to wait and see who forms the government. The constant is that the work representing the people of Calare won't end. That commitment goes on.
"If that's what the nation decides then that is what I will do. Ensure the interests of the people of Calare come first."
HAVE YOUR SAY
- Send a letter to the editor using the form below ...