UPPER Hunter Shire councillor Lee Watts has announced she won't run as a candidate in the upcoming Upper Hunter by-election triggered by the resignation of Michael Johnsen.
The news will come as a disappointment to some given the impact Mrs Watts made as Shooters Fishers and Farmers (SFF) Party candidate for the Upper Hunter in the 2019 state election, where she managed to gain 22.05 per cent of first preference votes despite entering the race late.
Mrs Watts, who has contested the seat twice, first as an independent in 2015, said last week if she did run it would be as an independent. However on Tuesday she confirmed she would not be running at all, and instead focusing on the September 2021 local government elections.
"After much consideration I will not nominate as an independent or for any party in the upcoming state election," Mrs Watts announced in a statement today.
"I wish the candidates the best in the short time frame to campaign."
Mrs Watts continued by stating that the Upper Hunter electorate deserves the best, and needs someone that "understands the diversity of all the areas, is willing to listen and act off what is heard but most of all that truly wants to represent every person in this electorate".
"When voting please don't continue to do what you have always done take the time to see what our candidates are passionate about," she wrote.
"My fingers are crossed we have one genuine candidate for this state election."
On Monday, SFF announced Singleton Business Chamber president Sue Gilroy as their candidate for the election on May 22.
Labor have also announced their candidate in Muswellbrook coal miner Jeff Drayton.
Last week, the Nationals put their faith in Clarence Town local David Layzell to run for the crucial Upper Hunter seat that the party holds with just a 2.6 per cent margin.