Maria Kovacic beats Andrew Constance in NSW Senate preselection vote

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Former Liberal Party state president Maria Kovacic will enter the Senate after winning a preselection for the party’s vacancy on Saturday.

Kovacic edged out former state treasurer and transport minister Andrew Constance in the vote, winning 287-243.

Former NSW Liberal president Maria Kovacic won the vote on Saturday.Credit: Edwina Pickles

About 700 Liberal Party members packed out the Fullerton Hotel in Sydney on Saturday morning for the preselection vote to replace the late senator Jim Molan, who died in January aged 72 after a months-long battle with prostate cancer.

Six candidates contested the spot including former Lindsay MP Fiona Scott, Shepherd Centre executive David Brady, Lowy Institute researcher Jess Collins and Space Industry Association of Australia chief executive and ex-army officer James Brown.

Andrew Constance had made a deal with parts of the Right factions.Credit: Janie Barrett

Kovacic, a Moderate, resigned as the NSW Liberal president last month to nominate for the Senate spot.

Constance, a former state transport minister and treasurer, received an endorsement from former premier Gladys Berejiklian and had the support of former foreign minister Marise Payne.

He put his name forward under a deal with sections of the Right whereby he would give up the spot in 18 months and run for the lower house seat of Gilmore for a second time.

There were mixed views within both factions about how this would be viewed by voters.

Molan would have ordinarily been replaced by a member of his Right faction, and earlier this year it appeared that Catholic Schools NSW chief executive Dallas McInerney was the frontrunner to fill the vacancy.

But McInerney withdrew from the contest which allowed Constance a run at the spot.

More the come.

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