DAMIAN Ogden had hoped to represent Labor in Werriwa — but now he will throw his efforts behind sitting MP Laurie Ferguson as the party fights to hang on to the crucial seat in this year's federal election.
Mr Ferguson has been overwhelmingly re-endorsed as Labor's candidate for Werriwa following a rank and file vote on Saturday. He won the ballot with 132 votes, and Mr Ogden followed with 11 votes.
Mr Ferguson was confident he had the support of the local branch in the lead up to the vote and doubted the party would switch to a new candidate in the lead up to the election.
There was an 8.5 per cent swing towards the Liberal Party in Werriwa in the 2010 federal election, and the seat will be lost if there is a 6.8 per cent swing away from Labor in September. Labor faced annihilation in four key western Sydney seats, including Werriwa, if it went to the polls with Julia Gillard as leader, a Fairfax Media/ReachTEL poll showed earlier this month.
Mr Ferguson is pitched against Sutherland Shire mayor Kent Johns, who has been preselected by the Liberal Party to contest the seat.
The sitting MP acknowledged constant leadership speculation and the controversy surrounding the NSW Labor Party meant he faced a tough fight.
Mr Ogden, of Casula, said he would respect the decision made by local party members on Saturday.
Mr Ogden said he entered the preselection race because he thought he would make a good candidate and wouldn’t rule out running again.
‘‘At this point I’m going to be sticking with my work with [training organisation] Campaign Action, beyond that my interest in all of this is to make sure Labor wins Werriwa.’’
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