Nationals WA president Colin Holt is in danger of losing his Legislative Council seat as Brendon Grylls' bold bid to spread the party's influence to the State's north was at risk of being undermined by the Liberals' rampant performance in the south.
Mr Grylls' brave decision to leave his safe Central Wheatbelt seat was rewarded with a thumping victory over Labor's Kelly Howlett in the Pilbara.
But the Nationals leader's win was offset by the probable loss of Agriculture and Corrective Services Minister Terry Redman, who is struggling to overcome an unfavourable electoral redistribution and Labor and Greens decisions to send their preferences to Liberal Ray Colyer in the seat of Warren-Blackwood.
And Wendy Duncan's grasp on Kalgoorlie is looser than the Nationals would prefer. She is neck and neck with Liberal Melissa Price and relying on Labor preferences with more than one-third of votes yet to be counted.
There is also uncertainty in the Kimberley, where some commentators have projected the Kimberley as a win for the Nationals' Michelle Pucci. With half the votes counted, she has a primary vote of 21 per cent, below Labor's Josie Farrer (22 per cent) and the Greens' Chris Maher and Liberal Jenny Bloom (both on 26). The personal elation of victory quickly subsided yesterday for Mr Grylls, who went to ground and refused to speak to the media.
The crushing swing to the Liberals means the Nationals will relinquish the balance of power in the Lower House.
If Mr Holt does not win in South West, the party's representation in the Upper House may be cut to four, with the Nationals appearing likely to take two seats each in Mining and Pastoral and Agricultural.
"She's pretty tight, mate," Mr Holt said of his seat last night. "A loss is a definite possibility."
Colin Barnett would not commit to the likely representation of the Nationals in his future Cabinet yesterday, and said there were no guarantees Mr Grylls would remain Regional Development Minister.
While he again reaffirmed his commitment to Royalties for Regions, the Premier emphasised that every spending decision from the billion-dollar-plus-a-year fund would be made by Cabinet."Brendon and I have worked very well together," Mr Barnett said. "He has been incredibly supportive to me at a Cabinet level, in the Parliament and in the public arena."
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.