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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Michael Parris

Libs pick surprise candidates for Port Stephens, Lake Macquarie

Nathan Errington will run for the Liberals in Port Stephens. File picture

Former Hamilton Business Chamber president and Newcastle council candidate Nathan Errington will contest the seat of Port Stephens for the Liberals in this month's state election.

The party finally named its candidates for Port Stephens, a seat it held as recently as 2015, and Charlestown on Wednesday afternoon, hours after nominations closed for the March 25 poll.

The Newcastle Herald has been told the party has been forced to draft in Young Liberal Joshua Beer from Sydney to run in Lake Macquarie after problems finding a suitable local candidate.

Joshua Beer at a function with Premier Dominic Perrottet at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney in 2021.

Lake Macquarie councillor and businessman Jack Antcliff will take on Jodie Harrison in Charlestown.

Mr Errington ran as an independent in an unwinnable position on the same ticket as councillor Kath Elliott in the 2017 Newcastle local government election and was later embroiled in a bitter dispute with the council over the city's business improvement association (BIA) program.

The former Beaumont Street newsagent lives at Beresfield, just outside the Port Stephens electorate.

Labor's Kate Washington holds Port Stephens with a 5.8-point margin.

Liberal sources have expressed disappointment at the party's tardiness in finding and naming candidates in the Hunter while Labor, the Nationals, Greens and minor parties have been campaigning for months.

Mr Errington is a father of five and small businessman who grew up in Raymond Terrace and Medowie.

"This community means so much to me and formed who I am as a person," he said.

"That's why I'm so passionate about fighting to be the voice for this area in a Perrottet Liberal team.

"I went to school at Grahamstown Public School and played junior sport, including local soccer and rugby league."

Mr Errington is working in retail as an assistant manager.

"I was the president of the Hamilton Business Chamber from 2014 until 2019, and I've been involved in local sport committees, including as secretary of the Lower Hunter Rugby League Association and local soccer competitions," he said.

The newly minted Liberal candidates will have little more than two weeks to campaign.

The NSW Electoral Commission closed nominations at midday on Wednesday.

The ballot draws in all electorates will be at 10am on Thursday and pre-poll voting starts on Saturday, March 18.

To see more stories and read today's paper download the Newcastle Herald news app here.

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