Federal Election 2019: Patrick Conaghan claims the seat of Cowper for The Nationals

Patrick Conaghan claims victory in Cowper for the Nationals. Photo: Tracey Fairhurst.

Patrick Conaghan claims victory in Cowper for the Nationals. Photo: Tracey Fairhurst.

Thunderous cheers replaced shock and awe as The Nationals claimed victory for the seat of Cowper.

An underdog from the beginning, it was always going to be tough for newcomer Patrick Conaghan to take the win from heavyweight Independent Robert Oakeshott.

Mr Conaghan, a family man, asked his two sons for their support before accepting the pre-selection nomination for Cowper back in November 2018.

"Well this is exciting. My dad always said to be humble and they are the greatest words I ever heard," Mr Conaghan said.

"When we started this my wife and I sat our boys down and asked them what they thought about this because we all took this journey together.

"I told them it would be hard, I said people will say things to you that aren't nice, what do you think? And they both said 'go for it dad, do it'."

And go for it he did.

Internal Nationals polling on January 12 suggested the race would be tight between his nearest rival Rob Oakeshott. On election night, the numbers delivered early at polls in Cowper north.

Mr Conaghan claimed victory at 10pm.

"I am being told tonight from pre-polling that we are matching or exceeding today's results but none of this would have happened but for all the people who have offered their support and encouragement over the last six months," he said.

"I am humbled by your support and what you have done for Cowper.

"On the third of November I was pre-selected and I gave an undertaking to the National Party members that I would work until 6pm today to make sure that Cowper was returned to Canberra with the Nationals.

"And now I give this undertaking to the people of Cowper I will work hard for you, you have given me your vote and I will not let you down."

In his victory speech he also said he would continue to dedicate himself to the electorate which spans from Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour - the biggest electorate in the nation.

"This campaign was never about Pat Conaghan, it was about the National Party and country people working together to get the best result," he added.

"It is my honour to have campaigned for the last six months and I will continue to do everything I can up and down the coast for the people of Port Macquarie up to Coffs Harbour out to Dorrigo and everywhere in between."

More than 46,926 of the eligible 124,507 voters in Cowper had already voted up until 6pm on Friday evening.

That is 37.69 per cent of voters and the fifth highest percentage of pre-pollers in NSW.

More than four million people across the nation voted early.

During the campaign there was some early argy bargy over election signage with Nationals HQ showing signs of frustration amid debate its campaign had been "nasty" and "negative".

Independent Rob Oakeshott posted a video to his supporters on Friday night damning the party for its mud-slinging tactics saying with its long history in Cowper, should have instead used the last minute campaign time to talk to the people.

NSW Nationals State Director Ross Cadell fired one back on Saturday morning saying his team has reported an incident at Toormina where an Oakeshott official was allegedly seen removing National Party signage.

"Several signs were ripped down before the official was challenged. The incident has now been reported to police along with photos and video of the man's actions," Mr Cadell said.

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This story New kid on the block: Conaghan claims a Cowper victory first appeared on Port Macquarie News.

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