One Nation candidate Damian Huxham and Senator Pauline Hanson in Hervey Bay.
One Nation candidate Damian Huxham and Senator Pauline Hanson in Hervey Bay. Valerie Horton

Huxham sees wins in third election loss

RISING primary support has One Nation's Hervey Bay candidate Damian Huxham confident about his political future.

Mr Huxham is likely to finish third in the race for Hervey Bay, with LNP's Ted Sorensen expected to retain his set for a fourth successive term ahead of Labor's Adrian Tantari.

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The One Nation candidate was frank when asked of his chances.

He said the party, led by popular divisive Senator Pauline Hanson, had to win the primary vote if he was to be a chance given his claim the "major parties preferenced each other".

All the action from the first night of the vote count

But while this campaign will end in a third loss for Mr Huxham, who unsuccessfully ran for Maryborough in the 2015 state election then Hinkler in the 2016 Federal election, a rising primary support has him optimistic.

When Labor's Bruce Saunders won Maryborough in 2015, Mr Huxham secured just 6.98% of the primary vote. In 2016, when Mr Huxham challenged Nationals MP Keith Pitt in the Federal seat of Hinkler, he earned 19.16%, one of the highest levels of support in Queensland.

This time Mr Huxham has garnered 25.66% of first preferences with 72% of the electoral roll counted.

"We haven't gone backwards. If we had I might've thought differently (about his political future)," Mr Huxham said. "The support is growing.

"I haven't discussed it with my wife yet but it's something I'll have to think about.

"It is humbling (to see the support). It indicates people are ready for a change but, for now, everything could stay the same."

Mr Huxham was locked in a bitter battle with Mr Tantari throughout the campaign.

The pair clashed on social media and at pre-poll booths, which earned Mr Tantari a stern dressing-down from Senator Hanson during her last-minute visit to the region.

Mr Huxham admitted the stoush could have turned voters away from both candidates, but blamed Mr Tantari's "inexperience".

"If he was an experienced campaigner he wouldn't have done what he did," Mr Huxham said.

"There's no way Ted (Sorensen) would have carried on like (Mr Tantari) did."

For now, Mr Huxham will enjoy his son's graduation from primary school then return to work.

"I'm still hoping the party will grow. There's about six seats we could jag but we fought a David and Goliath battle (in Hervey Bay)," Mr Huxham said.



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