The Nationals’ quest to win back Shepparton at the November Victorian election has become a three-horse race for party preselection.
Peter Schwarz, Peter Shields and Daniel Watson have thrown their hats into the ring to represent the Nationals in trying to recover the once safe seat.
The nominations mark the result of the first phase of an open community preselection.
This is first time the party has deployed the unusual mode of selecting candidates in Victoria.
Mr Watson is a CFA volunteer and stay-at-home dad with experience working in public service, including the ATO and Centrelink.
He settled in Shepparton more than a decade ago.
Mr Schwarz is a former Nationals Victorian president and the party’s current federal treasurer.
He has worked extensively in agricultural leadership at the local, state and federal levels.
Mr Shields, based in Dookie, has also had roles within the party.
He has worked in the glazing industry for more than 20 years.
The community will vote for its preferred representative on April 14. The final nominations were confirmed last week.
State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed, who won the seat in 2014, is recontesting, while Cheryl Hammer has been announced as the Liberal candidate.
Nationals state president Neil Pankhurst said the party was giving Shepparton ‘‘a direct say on who should be our candidate in the November state election’’.
‘‘I am delighted that we have three passionate, hard-working locals who want to represent Shepparton in state parliament,’’ he said.
He said all members of the public on the electoral roll in the state seat of Shepparton would be able to vote at one of six polling booths in Shepparton, Mooroopna, Nathalia, Numurkah and Tatura on April 14.