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Two to face off for Cregan's seat

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A Hills councillor and a Liberal member publicly implicated in the party’s controversial ‘Believe in Blue’ recruitment drive are understood to have nominated to take on independent defector Dan Cregan for his seat of Kavel.

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Nominations for Liberal preselection have closed, with sources telling InDaily that two nominees are currently facing the party’s candidate review committee ahead of a likely ballot to choose a formal candidate.

They are believed to be Mount Barker councillor Bradley Orr and Mayo Federal Electorate Conference president Rowan Mumford, who will carry strong support from the party’s conservative wing in the seat.

Mumford, who runs a local fitness studio, was the subject of a controversial anonymous email – one of several tabled in parliament earlier this year by Cregan, making them subject to parliamentary privilege.

The emails, sent to party membership distribution lists, prompted an internal party investigation which resolved to crack down on future “misuse” of its members’ “private email addresses”.

The email sent to Mumford was addressed from ‘NotHappyJan2021’, saying: “I am angry about the way you are leading the Mayo team.”

“You are involved in introducing hard-right Pentecostal Christians into the party and have signed up about 90 already… this is causing a lot of friction with existing members.

“You need to do better than this [if] you want to have any chance of becoming a candidate for Mayo.”

InDaily revealed earlier this year that senior Liberal conservatives were leading a coordinated campaign to bolster their membership base by targeting Evangelical Christian church communities.

It’s understood the Hills districts have been a major focus of the recruitment drive.

The seat of Kavel came into stark focus for the Liberal Party this month when Cregan – a member of the Centre Right breakaway faction – quit the Government to run as an independent.

He was then elevated to parliamentary Speaker in a dramatic twist that has seen him trade barbs with his former party colleagues, eschewing a government driver and his salary boost after they accused him of seeking an inflated pay packet.

Cregan has made a virtue this week of driving his 50th anniversary model Falcon, ‘Foster the Ford’, and has frequently brandished a tin of baked beans, claiming that was as much remuneration as he needed to do the job.

The contested Liberal ballot will delay the confirmation of a candidate to campaign against Cregan, with the Liberals also facing unplanned contests in Waite, where incumbent Sam Duluk has quit the party, and Narungga – where Fraser Ellis will contest his seat despite his crossbench exile pending criminal charges relating to alleged misuse of parliamentary entitlements.

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