Independent Kerryn Phelps in tight race for Malcolm Turnbull's former seat

It's too close to call in Malcolm Turnbull's former seat of Wentworth as Kerryn Phelps takes on Liberal candidate Dave Sharma.

Independent Kerryn Phelps has the lead in a tight contest with the Liberals' Dave Sharma.

With 40 per cent of votes counted, the Australian Electoral Commission had Dr Phelps ahead on a two-candidate preferred basis at 50.9 per cent to Mr Sharma's 49 per cent. 

Kerryn Phelps
Independent MP Kerryn Phelps was a key architect of the Medevac legislation. Source: AAP

Dr Phelps holds the traditional blue ribbon seat by a slim margin of 1.1 per cent after winning in an October by-election to replace former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. 

But the Liberals were privately confident going into the election of reclaiming the seat in Sydney's wealthy inner suburbs. 

Mr Sharma told Sky News that it was too close to call. 

"I've been encouraged by the mood on the ground today but we're going to have to wait and see."

Dave Sharma
Liberal candidate Dave Sharma voting on Saturday. Source: AAP

Since narrowly losing the by-election, Mr Sharma has continued campaigning, positioning himself as a moderate voice in the party who believes more action is needed to address climate change.

Liberal senator Arthur Sinodinos said: "I think the Malcolm effect has flowed through. There may be an irony in some very safe seats that Bill's campaign around the big end of town may actually have rebounded in the sense it may have caused some well-heeled voters, who might otherwise have contemplated a change, to actually vote Liberal because of either hip-pocket issues or their concern about the economic environment under a Shorten government."

2 min read
Published 18 May 2019 at 8:29pm
By Rose Bolger