IN an election where independents were able to claim numerous seats from the Coalition, Calare incumbent Andrew Gee managed to increase his margin, with a very competitive independent unable to even narrow the gap.
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However, Kate Hook's campaign has still been deemed a success, while Mr Gee's gains have been attributed to a notable absence on the ballot paper.
Charles Sturt University (CSU) political science academic Professor Dominic O'Sullivan said Mr Gee likely secured the support of Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party voters, who didn't have a candidate of their own at this election.
"The Shooters and Fishers weren't running this time and they ran last time and polled 18,000 votes, whereas the fringe right this time, in terms of the One Nation and United Australia, between them only polled 11,000, so there's 7000 votes that had to go somewhere and some of them have obviously gone to Andrew Gee," he said.
"Another factor too is that the Labor vote dropped quite significantly, but I think that might be partly because at the last election and indeed the election before, Labor ran Jess Jennings, who had quite a strong local profile, and there was presumably an element of personal vote for Jess Jennings that obviously didn't transfer across to the new Labor candidate."
Sarah Elliott attracted 14,910 first preference votes, compared to Mr Jennings' 23,074 in 2019.
Professor O'Sullivan also commended the results achieved by Ms Hook.
"I think she did very well. I think it's important when we look at the success of the teal candidates, not to get a sense of running as an independent being easy," he said.
"There were unique circumstances in each of those teal seats that perhaps didn't apply in Calare, so to expect an independent to win in a way that those candidates did I think is probably a bit unrealistic, but nevertheless she polled extremely well for an independent who didn't have anywhere near the amount of money behind her as the teal independents."
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