CATHY McGowan has weathered an anticipated postal vote storm to be on track to be confirmed the new member for Indi as early as Monday.
With 82,347 votes counted and some 7500 yet to be processed, the independent was on 50.54 per cent of the two-party preferred tally last night, 895 votes ahead of Liberal sitting member Sophie Mirabella.
The 7717 postal votes counted so far favoured Mrs Mirabella, who snared 57.6 per cent.
But the trend was opposite in the 930 absentee votes, where preferences gave Ms McGowan 55.27 per cent of them.
Electoral commission figures suggested there were still a mix of 7545 votes, including 4235 pre-polls, to be processed.
Ms McGowan was banking on these to favour her as counting continued today and tomorrow.
A winner could well be announced on Monday, unless there was a challenge.
Some in the McGowan camp predicted she’d win by about 660 votes.
Ms McGowan refused to declare victory last night.
“We’ve got no experience in how these absentee votes will play out,” she said. “But I am optimistic the pattern before the postal votes will resume and will hold steady.
“I am hoping it is enough to keep me ahead.”
Ms McGowan will be cheering hard for Barnwartha in the Tallangatta and District Football League grand final today, but she won’t be at Sandy Creek for the game.
She was headed for Mansfield to catch up with volunteers from Indi’s southern end.
Murrindindi shire was added to Indi from neighbouring McEwen, where a mere 153 votes separated Labor and Liberal.
“We are going to have big community lunches and brunches in Mansfield, Yea and Benalla as a welcome to Indi,” she said.
Ms McGowan has contacted her former boss and Liberal member for Indi Ewen Cameron.
“I had a really long chat with him,” she said.
“He was asking after my dad, mum, how I was going and how he had been watching the campaign with interest.
“He liked the way I could be following a similar path to him.”