A REMARKABLY upbeat Jess Jennings is focusing on the positives after a thumping electoral defeat on Saturday night.
After seeing the Nationals’ John Cobb secure a 6 per cent swing to retain the seat of Calare with a 16 per cent margin, Labor’s candidate was yesterday consoling himself with the thought it could have been much worse.
Dr Jennings said the Nationals had spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to retain Calare but had come nowhere near the incredible 36 per cent swing that Paul Toole recorded in the state seat of Bathurst just two years ago.
“At a local level I think it’s very positive,” Dr Jennings said.
“We appear to have done quite well in Lithgow, in particular.
“In the last two years there has been a massive swing away from Labor to the Nationals at a state level and I think we definitely stemmed that swing.
“At the last count the swing to the Nationals was about 5 per cent and there was a real prospect that could have been 10 or 15.”
Dr Jennings confirmed he was keen to run again and believed Calare remained a winnable seat for Labor into the future.
However, Dr Jennings admitted he would like to have polled better in Bathurst.
A year to the day after he was elected to Bathurst Regional Council, Dr Jennings was banking on his higher profile in his town delivering a boost at the ballot box.
It wasn’t to be, though, with Mr Cobb winning about 72 per cent of the Bathurst region’s votes on a two-party preferred basis.
“At the last state election, Labor was so on the nose in this area that they could have run Paul Toole as their candidate and still lost,” Dr Jennings said.
“In Calare, John Cobb had a six-year head start on me and they had us outnumbered about four or five-to-one at the booths so, on that basis, I think we should’ve been absolutely smashed.
“I’m not saying we did brilliantly on Saturday, but the result could’ve been one that meant Calare would never be a Labor seat again.”