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Savage backlash awaiting One Nation in Lockyer

CAMPAIGN: Former LNP advisor and political analyst Jeff Sommerfeld says One Nation's candidate Jim Savage (pictured) is yet to convince Lockyer voters of his local credentials.
CAMPAIGN: Former LNP advisor and political analyst Jeff Sommerfeld says One Nation's candidate Jim Savage (pictured) is yet to convince Lockyer voters of his local credentials. Jorge Branco

FORMER LNP advisor Jeff Sommerfeld is tipping a One Nation victory in the Lockyer but he insists the selection of Jim Savage as their candidate has given the LNP a sniff.

Mr Sommerfeld said One Nation state secretary Mr Savage was yet to prove that he is "a true Lockyer local" and the failure of One Nation to select a candidate with deep seated links to the electorate may backfire.

Mr Sommerfeld is a political analyst with a doctorate in social science and while he has LNP links he wears a neutral hat when making analytical comments in the media.

He tipped the LNP would lose the last state election nine months out based on his analysis of polling and even though he assisted LNP MP Ian Rickuss at the last state election he also predicted a swing of 15% against Mr Rickuss would give Pauline Hanson a real show.

He was accurate on both fronts.

Up until six weeks ago Mr Sommerfeld believed One Nation was on track to reclaim Lockyer comfortably for the first time since 2004.

However, the pre-selection by One Nation of Mr Savage has changed his mind.

Mr Savage was based on the Sunshine Coast at Bli Bli when he ran for the Senate for One Nation in 2013 but told the QT in December he was house hunting at Gatton and Hatton Vale and would move his young family into the Lockyer electorate.

"But having an outside candidate as opposed to a local gives the LNP perfect material to campaign against," Mr Sommerfeld said.

"If One Nation had endorsed a Lockyer local like (former One Nation state and national secretary) Saraya Beric they would have easily won here.

"But they have made it much more difficult for Mr Savage to win here.

"All the searches we have done indicate he has done a lot more on the Sunshine Coast.

"I believe he would have easily won the seat of Caloundra up there, but I just don't believe that has proved association with the Lockyer Valley.

"When we were doing the (scrutineer) count at the last state election I sat next to Pauline's assistant Saraya and I think she was someone who could have easily won this seat for One Nation."

Ms Beric, who was active in the Lockyer with Ms Hanson on the campaign trail in 2015, resigned her post from One Nation last year.

The LNP is yet to pre-select its candidate for Lockyer, where sitting MP Ian Rickuss will retire, but two candidates considered frontrunners are local police officer Jim McDonald and local farmer Linton Brimblecombe.

Mr Sommerfeld said he was unsure who else had put their hands up, but that Mr McDonald and Mr Brimblecombe could be sold by the LNP as true locals with an understanding of their electorate.

"Both of them have different strengths," he said.

"Jim proved himself at the last council elections (where he claimed 9501 votes, the most of any councillor) while Linton has long and strong ties to the valley.

"Both have the energy to put into a campaign and both understand the challenges ahead.

"Whilst I would not rule out a strong showing of One Nation in Lockyer, I have recently changed my view on an easy One Nation victory. It reminds me of the old adage 'a day in politics is a long time'."

Political pundits the QT has spoken to are tipping a One Nation victory in Lockyer.

Both political analyst Paul Williams and Goodna-based psephologist Cr Paul Tully believe it is a seat Ms Hanson's party will snare.

The QT is seeking comment from Mr Savage.

Topics:  lockyer one nation


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