Who will be the next member for Upper Hunter - expectations are for a tight result

DEMOCRACY: Political party volunteers have been busy manning Singleton's early voting centre since it opened on March 11.Polling closes on Saturday at 6:00pm.
DEMOCRACY: Political party volunteers have been busy manning Singleton's early voting centre since it opened on March 11.Polling closes on Saturday at 6:00pm.

In what may prove to be one of the tightest's election results for the seat of Upper Hunter with pundits predicting the outcome will be decided on preferences the once National Party blue ribbon seat may even change hands.

Now considered one of the seats to watch on election night tomorrow (Saturday March 23), Upper Hunter is held by a margin of 2.2 percent by The Nationals Michael Johnsen.

Mr Johnsen was first elected to the seat in 2015 replacing long serving member George Souris. In that contest he was up against Country Labor's Martin Rush and the Muswellbrook Mayor certainly made an impact gaining a swing of 20 per cent against Mr Johnsen.

In the twist and turns of modern politics Mayor Rush was going to re-contest the election until media reports surfaced regarding anonymous allegations of an altercation with a female flatmate. He withdrew from the contest and was replaced by Cessnock's deputy mayor Melanie Dagg.

Whether Ms Dagg is able to take the seat following her whirlwind campaign or Scone resident and Upper Hunter Shire councillor Lee Watts from the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party has gained enough support to win the seat will all be determined after 6:00pm on Saturday night.

Ms Watts like Mayor Rush contested the 2015 election but at the time she ran as an independent. 

Other candidates in this year's election include Calum Blair, Sustainable Australia; Claire Robertson, Animals Justice Party; Tony Lonergan, The Greens, Richard Stretton, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) and Mark Eliis, Liberal Democrats.

Voters also have to chose candidates in the state's upper house - the Legislative Council. 

On election day there will be eight polling stations open in the region. They are Barrington Public School, Gloucester Senior Citizens Centre, Gloucester High, Stratford Public School, Stroud Road Public School, Stroud Public School, Dungog Public School, Booral Public School. Gloucester High School will have wheelchair access.