FORMER Victorian Nationals MP Bill Sykes has tied his party's dire result in Indi to the absence of past Liberal candidate Sophie Mirabella from the election contest.
The ex-Benalla MP was the campaign manager for Indi candidate Mark Byatt, who attracted less than 10 per cent of the primary vote.
It was the worst result in Indi by a Nationals candidate, with the previous low, 12.29 per cent, notched by the late Indigo Shire councillor Don Chambers in 2001 when Mrs Mirabella was first elected.
Mr Sykes implied Mrs Mirabella's candidacy in 2016 may have inflated the natural Nationals vote.
"We got 17 per cent of the vote last time when Marty Corboy stood and now we've dropped back to ten," Mr Sykes said.
"My thought is maybe our base is ten and Marty picked up seven per cent from the Libs that didn't vote for Sophie, now under a different candidate that seven per cent have gone back to the Libs."
However, Mr Byatt as a former Wodonga mayor had a higher profile than what business owner Mr Corboy had on the Border.
"Mark was better known eight or so years ago when he was mayor and in that time there have been 30 per cent emerge that were not old enough to vote or not around Mark was doing his good things as mayor," Mr Sykes said.
Mr Byatt's tilt suffered via a tweet claiming Independent Helen Haines had not attended Anzac Day events and a flyer from a Nationals member made to appear as though Labor endorsed putting the Nats No.2 on ballots.
"You would rather those things hadn't happened but they did and it's very rare you run a campaign without some hiccups," Mr Sykes said.
Mr Byatt said "it's hard to know" if the tweet and flyer hurt his vote.
"All in all I think we played a really positive campaign, I've got complete integrity in the way I operated and integrity in the way the campaign operated," he said.
"Yeah there was a couple of mishaps; I'm not sure what role they would have played in the outcome."