Losing candidates think positive

HE might have been part of one of the greatest political floggings in history, but one of Steve Cansdell’s NSW election opponents believes he has secured some big wins for the electorate.

Independent candidate Richie Williamson, who is likely to secure about 17% of the primary vote, said his decision to run probably forced the Coalition to make bigger commitments to the Clarence than originally planned.

“I’ve no doubt the major commitments to start work on the second Grafton bridge in four years and complete the highway in five, came because I decided to run as an Independent,” he said.

However, the popular Clarence Valley mayor was not flavour of the month with the local Nationals after he claimed they offered him a party ticket for the 2015 election.

He dismissed claims that the Nationals would come gunning for his mayoral position and confirmed that he would stand again in four years.

“Everything I said happened and was factual, accurate and true,” he said.

“I don’t go around telling porkies.”

Mr Williamson said it would be sad if the Nationals introduced party politics to local government.

“We’re lucky we don’t have party alignments in local politics and it would be sad if it became part of our council,” he said.

Mr Williamson said he was pleased to attract close to 18% of the vote on his first foray into state politics.

“I’ve learnt a lot in this campaign, and 48 hours after the 2011 election I’m pleased with my result,” he said.

“In four years’ time we will see how the new government has handled its commitments to the region and what the political landscape looks like then.”

ALP candidate Colin Clague was also surprisingly upbeat, despite the Labor vote plummeting 20% to around 10% of the primary vote.

Mr Clague said that combining his and Mr Williamson’s figures got the total close to the 2007 Labor vote of 30%.

“It’s down a bit, but it’s better than it appears on just the raw figures,” he said.

“When you look at the Upper House vote in the Clarence, Labor had around 30% of the vote, which again is similar to the combined total.”

Mr Clague described the result “as a bit of a hiding” and blamed Labor’s disintegration over the past four years for the poor vote.

“The Labor Government let down the people of NSW,” he said.

“They let them down and the people took it out on them.”

Mr Clague said ALP would rise out of the ruins of the 2011 election.

“There were a lot of good policy initiatives from people like Linda Burney and Peter Primrose that were lost in all the rubbish that was going on in recent times,” Mr Clague said.

Labor and Independent figures were close to the 2007 Labor vote of 30%.

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