The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party are just a handful of votes away from taking out the Orange by-election.
The National party looks to have lost the Central West electorate of Orange with a massive primary swing of more than 60 percent in some booths.
The Shooters Fishers and Farmers representative Phillip Donato is currently sitting on 18604 with the Nationals Scott Barrett trailing by 79 votes.
Shooters upper house member Robert Brown said the result had exceeded the party’s expectations.
2GB radio host Ray Hadley supported Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate for Orange, Philip Donato.
“I don’t know if we will get there, but this will teach the Nationals a lesson. They have to grow a spine and not kow-tow to the Baird government.”
The Shooters have two upper house members, but have never held a lower house seat in NSW.
Mr Brown said he observed a level of anger at the booths as voters came in.
“We have had a fantastic campaign. We had 1500 volunteers on the ground in Orange. They came from Victoria, Queensland and north-west and south-east NSW. A lot of greyhound owners were here in their droves. The anti-council amalgamation people sent busloads and we had volunteer firefighters on our booths,” he said.
Labor frontbencher Walt Secord said: “This is the end of Troy Grant’s leadership … We may have the unusual position of the Labor Party electing Australia’s first lower house Shooters party MP.”
2GB radio hosts Alan Jones and Ray Hadley had broadcast live from Orange on Thursday to boost the profile of Mr Donato, who is a police prosecutor, married with five sons.
The decision by Jones to broadcast live from Orange was “unpleasant”, said one Nationals insider, but claimed voters were more interested in local issues.
However, the Nationals campaign conceded that forced council mergers had upset voters.
Molong, impacted by forced council mergers, experienced a 60 per cent swing against the Nationals.
The Orange by-election was held after Nationals MP Andrew Gee vacated the seat, previously held on a 21.7 per cent margin, after being elected to the federal House of Representatives.
Premier Mike Baird says he takes “full accountability” for the NSW Nationals’ devastating Orange by-election result.
“It’s a terrible result, that’s the truth of it,” Mr Baird told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
“The community there has sent a very loud message and it’s something that we need to consider over coming weeks, no doubt about it,” he said.
We wait patiently for the final results as the tide turns in Orange.