Richie is on his own

RICHIE Williamson's strong stance as an independent during this year's state election has hindered his chances for National Party pre-selection.

That was the feeling of Grafton National Party chairman Peter James as candidates line up to run for the seat of Clarence following Stave Cansdell's resignation last Friday.

Despite rumours Mr Williamson would run as a Nationals' candidate for pre-selection Mr James said he hadn't spoken to him about being a potential candidate.

"If he happened to be our chosen candidate, if he was pre-selected, I believe the other side of politics would attack him on things that he said leading up to the previous election."

"I think he would have some difficulty providing satisfactory answers.

"I think he has a point of vulnerability there that could put him on the back foot, or put him on the defensive."

On Tuesday Mr James told the Daily Examiner Richie Williamson's potential candidature could be viewed with cynicism.

"I think there will be many in the electorate who feel there's a degree of opportunism involved in a switch such as that in such a short period of time," he said.

"And I think Richie would be on the defensive having to explain his position.

"I'd like to think The Nationals won't give Richie pre-selection."

But Mr James said he fully supported his business partner Paul O'Connor's tilt at pre-selection for the Nationals.

"He asked me if he had my support because we are business partners."

"I said I feel he would be a very capable local member.

"He is a man of many skills and the appropriate level of integrity.

"I believe if he was elected he would do an excellent job as the local member."

He also endorsed Karen Tom's bid for pre-selection, saying the party had "an embarrassment of riches" in the candidates who were lining up.

"I think Karen would be an excellent candidate as well."

"In terms of both Paul and Karen we have been offered two extremely capable people.

"I think they both make excellent candidates.

"In that sense it's very healthy that we have what might be said an embarrassment of riches there.

"Good quality people wanting to put there hands up for this area."

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