Edward River mayor Peta Betts has beaten long-standing Nationals member Sandra Williams on Saturday to win preselection for the seat of Murray.
Cr Betts said she was "honoured to have been chosen" to run against incumbent Independent Helen Dalton at the NSW election in March.
"It's a great honour," she said.
"I'm just absorbing all of this at the moment."
Deputy NSW Premier Paul Toole, who was in Deniliquin for the preselection vote, said he was thrilled Cr Betts had won the preselection.
"She's done a great job as mayor of Edward River, but now she wants to bring those skills to a wider base," he said.
"Peta was born and bred in the Deniliquin area, she understands the Murray electorate, she's a mayor, she's been a lawyer, a successful businesswoman and also raised a family in the community."
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Mr Toole, who was mayor of Bathurst before he entered state politics in 2012, said he believed her role in local government gave her an edge.
"Being a mayor, like I used to be, just gives you a real insight into the community, she's a champion for the people," Mr Toole.
"She's going to be a fantastic candidate; she's very strong in her beliefs and that's what I want - I want local champions, I want people who are going to stand up for their community.
"And I want people who are going to listen - and that's exactly what Peta does.
"Whether people are living in Griffith or down in Tocumwal or Berrigan, she's going to ensure that she represents all those communities with their different needs."
Mrs Dalton said she was surprised the National Party had taken so long to get a candidate and that she knew she was up against a "well-funded fight".
"I'll contest the seat again - they've obviously struggled to get a candidate to run for the Nats," she said.
"It's late leading up to the election because in December and January most people will be away or continuing to harvest.
"So that's indicative of trying to find a candidate, I guess, otherwise they would have found one months ago.
"I'm up against the party machine, I know that, and as an independent it will be tougher for me because I have to fund myself and do most of the groundwork myself but I've done it before.
"You've at a disadvantage because the political system is made up of two parties and they hate independents getting in the way of things.
"But we do serve a purpose. I'm looking forward to campaigning, it's great to get around the electorate and I'll continue to do so."
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