No room for complacency in Eden-Monaro

Labor's Mike Kelly and Liberal Fiona Kotvojs. Pictures: Elesa Kurtz

Labor's Mike Kelly and Liberal Fiona Kotvojs. Pictures: Elesa Kurtz

Whoever is finally declared victorious in the federal seat of Eden-Monaro, the electorate has left the winner little room for complacency as they head to Canberra.

Mike Kelly on Monday evening claimed victory in the seat he won in 2016 for Labor.

However first-time Liberal challenger Fiona Kotvojs is yet to concede defeat, preferring to await an official declaration from the Australian Electoral Commission following confirmation of second count-through and preference distribution results.

A close look at the numbers explains why Dr Kotvojs was hanging on with gritted teeth.

Dr Kelly has survived the national savaging of Labor, but not without damage.

He weathered a more than two per cent swing against him on the primary vote.

His colleague to the north, Fiona Phillips, took roughly the same damage on first preferences.

She won the seat of Gilmore, but without as many first preference votes as she secured in 2016. The disarray in Liberal ranks saw preferences flow her way, allowing her to claim the seat on election night without the nail-biting days of counting she endured last time around.

Dr Kelly scored more than 40 per cent of the primary vote last time around against Liberal Dr Peter Hendy. That has dropped to 39.62 at this poll.

The Liberal Party gained 37.01 of the primary vote this time.

On paper that is a downward swing of 4.33 per cent - but when you factor in Nationals candidate Sophie Wade's share of the primary vote - sitting at 7.1 per cent - the conservative vote begins to look more threatening.

The Greens' share of the vote has inched ahead, with first-time candidate Pat McGinlay securing 8.35 per cent, an improvement of 0.75 on the 2016 result.

However, when preferences are considered the conservative candidates have crept up on Labor and The Greens, including with the help of a slew of minor candidates.

As of Thursday, May 23, just over 83 per cent of the vote had been counted, and the two-party preferred split was 50.95 to Dr Kelly, and 49.05 to Dr Kotvojs.

The two-party preferred split in 2016 was 52.93 to 47.07.

No-one can take anything for granted in the next three years.