THE battle for Calare was effectively over before it began.
Figures published by the Australian Electoral Commission show there were more than 24,000 pre-poll votes cast in Calare in the weeks leading up to Saturday’s poll, with the Nationals’ John Cobb receiving more than 65 per cent of them.
His 9000-vote lead before the polls opened across the region on Saturday morning would have been more than enough for him to claim the seat.
Tellingly, the 5 per cent swing reflected in the pre-poll votes remained consistent at polling booths throughout the day on Saturday, handing Mr Cobb an emphatic victory.
The AEC figures show Labor won just two Bathurst region polling places on a two-party preferred basis - the tiny Mitchell campus booth (where Labor recorded 40 votes to the Nationals’ 25) and Hill End (34 votes to 30).
The next best performance came at the Bathurst South Public School where the Nationals’ 499 votes just edged out Labor’s 488.
Everywhere else across the Bathurst region it is was a wipeout with Mr Cobb securing a massive 72.2 per cent of the two-party preferred vote - 23,252 votes to Dr Jennings’ 8953.
It was a similar story across the Orange booths, with only the traditional Labor stronghold of Lithgow delivering any joy for Labor candidate Jess Jennings.
The ALP won a number of booths around Lithgow - including Cullen Bullen (81 votes to 70), Cooerwull (674-653), Lithgow Central (546-457), Lithgow Hospital (43-41), Oakey Park (206-153) and Littleton (201-199) - but they had barely an impact on the final result.