BOB Katter’s Australian Party has been left temporarily without a candidate in Indi after Lee Luvara withdrew from the election race.
Mr Luvara, a single dad of two and long-standing worker at SPC Ardmona, informed the party yesterday of his decision to stand down as candidate due to personal reasons.
But Senate candidate for the party, Robert Danieli said a new candidate from Beechworth was expected to be endorsed by tomorrow.
Indi, held by Liberal frontbencher Sophie Mirabella, might still have 10 candidates to equal the record number who stood in the 1998 election.
The Australia Sex Party will apparently nominate Helma Aschenbrenner, of Melbourne, but she did not return calls from The Border Mail yesterday.
Mr Danieli said Mr Luvara’s decision was disappointing.
“It has left us without a candidate who we did have a belief in and has done a lot for the cause of farmers,” he said.
“But we will turn it around and endorse one of our other members.”
Mr Danieli said he believed the fledgling party led by Queensland MP Bob Katter — has still got time to make an impact in Indi with a new candidate.
“We are selling our policies, not our individuals, and where we stand hasn’t changed,” he said.
“Indi is very much a safe seat but there are a lot of people out there disaffected with the Labor and Liberal parties, so I think we’ll poll quite well.”
Mr Luvara is the second candidate to bow out of the race since the election was called on Sunday, with independent Alan Lappin announcing on Monday that he would not be running after suffering a heart attack last week.
Mr Lappin, who polled 4945 votes when he ran in 2010, expects to be keenly watching from the sidelines and wouldn’t say who he would be backing.
“At this stage I wouldn’t want to bias anyone’s opportunities,” he said.
“We’ll wait and see how everyone conducts themselves.”
Nominations close at midday tomorrow week .
Indi covers about 28,567 square kilometres from the Murray to Kinglake and Woods Point in the south.
Cities and towns include Alexandra, Beechworth, Benalla, Bright, Corryong, Mansfield, Mount Beauty, Myrtleford, Rutherglen, Tallangatta, Wangaratta, Wodonga and Yea.