Incumbent MP Thomas George has held the Lismore seat for the Nationals since 1999 and commands a great deal of loyalty, including in Tenterfield which only came into the Lismore electorate after boundaries were redrawn in 2013.
Even prior to that Tenterfield was part of the Northern Tablelands electorate represented by the National Party for more than three decades, aside from a 14-year stint with independent Richard Torbay.
Mr George’s upcoming retirement, however, may be seen as an opportunity for a changing of the guard as far as the Lismore seat in the Legislative Assembly is concerned.
Greens candidate Sue Higginson said Mr George has been an incredible representative and is being succeeded by a lovely guy in Austin Curtin. Estimates are, however, that the absence of an incumbent in an election is worth a minimum of a three per cent voting boost to each running candidate.
The Nationals did get a scare in the last election in 2015, when then-Greens candidate Adam Guise secured 47.14 per cent of the vote after preferences were distributed. The vast majority of his support came from voters outside the Tenterfield Shire.
The Greens can also claim beating the Labor candidate in two Lismore elections on the run, at least on first preferences.
Ms Higginson believes there’s a grassroots movement looking for a change, and regional successes such as voting a Greens MP into Ballina are suggesting a trend towards her party.