SUSSAN Ley's long-standing election campaign manager Angus Macneil says the Environment Minister will face a preselection vote-off for her seat of Farrer.
He says Sydneysider turned Denilquin area livestock property owner Christian Ellis will vie to be the Liberal Party candidate in this year's federal election.
Mr Ellis has previously worked for NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and former federal resources minister Matt Canavan.
Edward River councillor and Liberal Party member Shirlee Burge says Mr Ellis has built up numbers among Farrer branches, even though he has been twice rejected for membership of her unit at Deniliquin.
"They've all had a massive inundation of numbers in the past 12 months, it started in December 2020 all these nominations coming in and they're all from this right-wing faction," Mrs Burge said before adding Mr Ellis also had support from those upset at Ms Ley's handling of irrigation issues.
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Mrs Burge believes Mr Ellis could topple Ms Ley in a vote of branch members from across the electorate.
"Ellis has the numbers to roll her and he's very close to Perrottet and they're sitting back watching, but I have heard the Prime Minister will intervene if she loses the count," Mrs Burge said.
Mr Macneil is more confident of Ms Ley's prospect in a preselection vote.
"I think she'll win it, I don't think there's much doubt about that," he said.
"He's a young bloke, he's under 30, and I just think he's doing this for next time around.
"I think it's unlikely Sussan will stand again, she may well, but I think she will stand this time and give it away at the end of the term.
"I think he's positioning himself for that because he's got to get himself known in Albury."
Mrs Burge said she asked Mr Ellis: "Why don't you follow Sussan for three years and learn the ropes and then have a go?
"He refused point blank and said 'I'm going now I've got the numbers."
Under Liberal Party preselection rules, candidates cannot speak to the media during the process.
A party spokesman would only say yesterday the process for Farrer nominations was progressing.
Mr Macneil expects a preselection vote of members will be held next month.
Meanwhile, Mrs Burge said the Deniliquin branch was due to consider a third application by Mr Ellis to join its membership later this month.
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