‘Unwinnable’ spot may be new career for Geraldton teacher

Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
Sandra Carr in her Beachlands home. Ms Carr appears to have won a seat in WA’s Legislative Council.
Camera IconSandra Carr in her Beachlands home. Ms Carr appears to have won a seat in WA’s Legislative Council. Credit: Stan Maley/Supplied, Stan Maley

The red tidal wave that swamped the Lower House is spreading to the Upper House, and a Geraldton Labor candidate is on the cusp of an unexpected political berth.

Geraldton identity and Labor MLC Laurie Graham is retiring , with Esperance councillor Shelley Payne replacing him at Labor’s No.2 spot on the party’s Upper House ticket for the Agricultural Region.

But Geraldton may still have a local MLC in Nagle Catholic College teacher Sandra Carr, who often said she never expected to crack the “unwinnable” third position for Labor.

With six spots up for grabs, two wins can be safely called for Labor — incumbent Darren West and Ms Payne, and one for the Nationals in Colin de Grussa. With 46.5 per cent of the vote counted, the fourth, fifth and six spots appear to have gone to Ms Carr, the Liberals’ Steve Martin and the Nationals’ Marty Aldrige.

Ms Carr, an English teacher and mother of two, said all along she understood her election chances were “very, very remote”, but now she’s preparing for the very real possibility of a career change.

During the campaign, her focus was helping get Lara Dalton elected. Now, she’s telling herself “don’t get ahead of yourself” and finding ways to distract herself, like playing board games with her daughter, instead of staring at numbers on a screen.

“If you put your hand up, you have to be prepared to do the job,” she said. “I’m preparing myself for at least a week of uncertainty.”

Ms Carr said even if successful, she expected the close result would come with calls for a recount.

The Agricultural Region takes in much of WA’s grain belt, stretching from Northampton to Esperance, including the City of Greater Geraldton and Shire of Northam, where Nationals Leader Mia Davies is based.

Electoral commission staff started counting “above-the- line” preferences in local booths on Saturday night, with below-the-line counting beginning on Monday. .

At past elections this has taken days to produce a result, so votes will be scanned and counted electronically from Wednesday.

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