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Nationals choose a candidate for the Upper Hunter by-election tonight, and more candidates come forward

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The Nationals will choose their candidate to run in the Upper Hunter by-election tonight. 

Deputy Premier John Barilaro has told Radio Hunter Valley it'll be a choice between two. 

"The National Party will have it's pre-selection tonight and we have David Layzell from Dungog and of course Sue Moore from Singleton are the two candidates who have gone through the process to now face the members and the members will now decide who the candidate is in this election,"

"Hopefully around 8:30 tonight we will know exactly who that is."

"Two very good candidates, both local. Sue Moore a great local Mayor, pro-mining, Dave Layzell from Dungog a Councillor also born and bred in the region."

"It's good for the focus to be on this region and we actually get to talk about things that are important and its not just coal jobs and mining, we know there's land conflict issues, we know we've got a an equine economy, we've got vineyards, we've got farmers and we've always done that well here, that balancing game."

"We're committed to this region," said the Deputy Premier. 

"By-elections, when you look at history, by-elections is a moment of time where people send a message back to government and it's very hard to hold a by-election seat particularly when you're holding it by 2.6 per cent. But we haven't picked the candidate yet, let's pick the candidate first."

"I'm always confident we can win this seat. I just ask people to do this, judge me firstly on how I acted in relation to the Michael Johnsen issue, what we've actually done in this region, my position as the Mining Minister is back this region over and over, the investment we've seen in the Singleton Bypass, the Muswellbrook Bypass, Scone, the hospitals, you name it," he said. 

"Judge us on all of that and then the way we've managed the pandemic. We're two years out from a general election, its probably not the right time to change the jockey mid-race."

"I'm quietly confident we can do it, but yes the odds are against us and that's a fair call," said the Deputy Premier. 

An Independent has emerged in Scone in local Kate Fraser.

The Shooters Fishers and Farmers are in discussions with a potential candidate, as is the Labor Party. 

The Liberal-Democrats have also produced a candidate in Eva Pears. 

Image credit: John Barilaro MP