TROPIC NOW EXCLUSIVE
The best kept secret in local politics can now be made public for the first time: Cairns councillor Linda Cooper will run for the Liberal National Party in the seat of Barron River at the state election next year.
Cr Cooper - the popular Cairns Regional Council Division 6 councillor - was preselected by branch members in a vote tonight, with the party quietly confident it can steal the swing seat of Barron River from Labor's sitting MP Craig Crawford.
Mr Crawford - who has spent significant time away from his electorate this term due to his ministerial responsibilities - holds the seat with a slim margin of less than 2%.
Tropic Now understands polling already conducted in the Cairns region suggests the LNP could win Barron River, with the party expected to throw significant resources behind Cr Cooper's campaign in the lead-up to the state election on 31 October 2020.
Cr Cooper was first elected in Division 6 in 2008 - an area encompassing Redlynch, Brinsmead, Kamerunga, Freshwater and Stratford - all key suburbs in the seat of Barron River.
But she will not recontest the division at the local government elections in March, giving her 7 months to campaign full-time in Barron River.