Labor's Caloundra candidate Jason Hunt with wife Justine and son Liam at state election celebrations.
Labor's Caloundra candidate Jason Hunt with wife Justine and son Liam at state election celebrations. Patrick Woods

Labor team 'jubilant' over Caloundra support

UPDATE 11pm: 

The statistics suggest a Labor win, and the Caloundra candidate and volunteers were "jubilant", but Jason Hunt is reluctant to declare it a victory. 

The Labor candidate for Caloundra said it would be premature to declare a win tonight, with thousands of postal and prepoll votes to be counted. 

"It looks positive, the volunteers are jubilant," he said. 

"I'd like to see some more figures come through though." 

With more than 66 per cent of the unofficial count completed, Mr Hunt has received 41.58 per cent of first preference votes, to LNP candidate Stuart Coward's 39.15 per cent. 

Mr Hunt would be Caloundra's first Labor member since the seat was established in 1992. 

Earlier 7.30pm: 

Labor candidate for Caloundra Jason Hunt was lost for words after seeing the first results filter in from this year's state election.

Mr Hunt has 42.6% per cent of first preference votes, with about 7500 counted so far for the Caloundra electorate.

He said that before 7pm he avoided looking at the results.

"It's incredibly nerve-racking for myself and for my volunteer team," he said.

"This is the culmination of close to six years of work.

 

Jason Hunt at Caloundra state election celebrations.
Jason Hunt at Caloundra state election celebrations. Patrick Woods

"There's a lot of people who have given so much time … I'm nervous for myself and I'm anxious on their behalf as well because I feel that I owe them a result."

Mr Hunt said he was reluctant to celebrate just yet.

"I'm taking a cautious approach," he said.

"I almost don't have the words to fully explore the cocktail of emotions that are going on right now."

Caloundra became the seat to watch on the Sunshine Coast, with Liberal National Party member Mark McArdle retiring after 15 years.

The LNP's new Caloundra candidate Stuart Coward has received 31.75 per cent of first preferences so far.

Mr McArdle said he was spending tonight with Mr Coward and the local supporters.

"Labor has poured enormous resources into Caloundra," he said.

"The LNP has fought very hard.

"It is a tough ask for the LNP here in Caloundra."

Earlier LNP treasurer Tim Mander said on ABC that "whenever you lose a retiring member that always makes it (the seat) vulnerable".


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