Labor candidate for Canning Matt Keogh remains hopeful of a by-election win but concedes it will be tough to beat rival Andrew Hastie.
Mr Keogh handed out pamphlets at Kelmscott Senior High School on Saturday morning but was unable to vote because he has not lived in the electorate for the required 28 days.
The lawyer grew up in the area and cast his first vote at the same school but this morning had to be content with accompanying his family to the polling station.
Mr Keogh recently moved back to the area after living in the inner city suburb of Mt Lawley as he and his wife worked in the CBD.
While a poll showed the Liberal candidate was ahead of Mr Keogh at 57-43 on a two-party preferred basis, he remained upbeat, saying he had not even glanced at the newspaper. “I’m definitely hopeful,” Mr Keogh said, but admitted a win would not be easy. He said local issues were at the heart of the by-election, particularly youth unemployment, despite the leadership dramas earlier this week in which Tony Abbott was ousted from the nation’s top job.
Mr Keogh would not say if he would move out of the area if he lost the by-election or whether he would run for the seat of Burt, which will apply from the next federal election and take in parts of Canning and Hasluck.
“I’m focused on today. We’ve got a few hours now to go,” he said.
“What this campaign has been able to highlight is how much WA has been taken for granted by this Liberal government.”
Both candidates have campaigned heavily in the electorate, pounding the pavements in the style of the late Liberal MP Don Randall, who held the seat for 15 years and finished the 2013 federal election with a 12 per cent margin.
He died suddenly in July from a suspected heart attack.