Wentworth by-election: Dave Sharma selected as Liberal Party candidate
By Nick Sas and Ashleigh Raper
14 Sep 2018,
Former Australian ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma has won the Liberal Party candidacy for the Federal seat of Wentworth ahead of next month's by-election.
Mr Sharma emerged victorious for the prized preselection after a marathon voting session that lasted more than six hours and finished in the early hours of Friday morning at a rugby club in Sydney's Rose Bay.
The ABC understands Mr Sharma took the spot with 119 votes in the final round after he and Woollahra councillor Richard Shields emerged as the final two candidates.
Liberal Party insiders said there were "201 voters".
The selection of Mr Sharma, who was endorsed by former prime ministers Malcolm Turnbull — whose resignation sparked the by-election — and John Howard, came despite the lobbying of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Mr Morrison and other party heavyweights called for a woman to take the post, and the former ambassador's election may further fracture an already under-pressure Liberal Party.
After six rounds of voting, Mr Sharma and Mr Shields finished ahead of former Wentworth MP Peter King, former Liberal Party staffer Mary-Lou Jarvis, former Woollahra deputy mayor, and Katherine O'Regan who had been the expected frontrunner.
The ABC understands there were audible gasps in room when Ms O'Regan was knocked out of the running.
Speaking after the vote outside the Eastern Suburbs Rugby Union Club entrance where the ballot was held, Mr Sharma said he would be "throwing his all" into the by-election battle.
"It's been a long evening, but I'm honoured to have been selected as the Liberal candidate," Mr Sharma said.
"We have a tough fight ahead of us to hold on to this seat, but [I] believe we can retain it, and retain a Liberal Government in Canberra."