PRESSURE'S ON: Pat Conaghan is in a fierce battle in the seat of Cowper.
PRESSURE'S ON: Pat Conaghan is in a fierce battle in the seat of Cowper. TREVOR VEALE

Conaghan declares victory in Cowper

UPDATE 9.55pm: Pat Conaghan has declared victory in the seat of Cowper after winning more than 45 per cent of the first preference votes counted. 

Mr Conaghan took six months off work as a solicitor to pursue the seat, a decision which has paid big dividends. 

UPDATE 9.30PM: Rob Oakeshott has told his supporters in Port Macquarie he won't concede defeat yet.

Mr Oakeshott said he won't concede until pre-poll has been counted, which makes up roughly one third of the Cowper votes.

Mr Oakeshott currently has 13,000 votes to Pat Conaghan's 23,000. 

UPDATE 8.45PM: Pat Conaghan's stranglehold continues, with The Nationals candidate currently sitting on 13,233 votes or 45.86 per cent. 

Rob Oakeshott is on 6719 votes. Interestingly there has been nearly a 2 per cent swing against Mr Oakeshott since 2016. 

Labor's Andrew Woodward is still in third with 4238 votes. 

UPDATE 7.45PM: 12 per cent of the vote has now been counted and it's Pat Conaghan in control on 6540 votes. 

He's clear of Rob Oakeshott (3166 votes) and Andrew Woodward (1819) at this stage. 

A long night of counting is ahead. 

EARLIER: VOTE counting has begun and it's clear The Nationals have a fight on their hands if they want to retain power in the seat of Cowper.

Patrick Conaghan has made a strong start for The Nationals, polling 1202 votes while Rob Oakeshott currently sits on 563.

Labor's Andrew Woodward is in third on 324.

More to come.

FEDERAL
2019
Cowper


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