THE National Party will contest the federal seat of Bendigo at September’s election for the first time in 15 years.
Nominations from eligible members of the party opened for the seat on Friday and will close at 5pm on Thursday, February 14.
It is the first time the Nationals have entered a candidate into the seat since Scott Mitchell contested the 1998 federal election.
The person selected will be hoping to be the first National candidate to be elected in Bendigo since George Rankin in 1937.
It follows pledges made by leading National politicians at their party’s state conference held in Bendigo in May to win the seat from Labor.
Federal Nationals leader Warren Truss vowed at the conference to fight hard to win the city’s federal seat at the next election.
“Bendigo deserves better,” he said.
The Nationals hold the neighbouring seat of Mallee, but Bendigo has recently become a Labor stronghold.Labor holds the seat from the Liberals by more than
9.5 per cent after a 3.4 per cent swing in their favour at the last election.
The only other confirmed candidates for the September 14 poll are Labor’s Lisa Chesters and the Liberal Party’s Greg Bickley.