Labor's chances of retaining the seat of Hunter at the next Federal election has just become a bit harder.
With the party opting for a 'captain's pick' from Federal leader Anthony Albanese to select former coalminer and five times Olympian Daniel Repacholi as their Hunter candidate rather than going through a candidate pre-selection process former Lake Macquarie deputy mayor Daniel Wallace has announced he will stand as an independent.
A well known Hunter Valley union representative and member of the Toronto branch of the Labor Party for 15 years Mr Wallace said he was prompted to stand because the Labor Party, after 35 years, should have conducted a normal pre-selection process.
"Hunter has been held by Fitzgibbon family first Eric and then his son Joel for decades and now was the ideal opportunity to select an outstanding local candidate, and a number of members put their hands up, but no we weren't given that chance," he said.
"Therefore as someone who has spent many years working to improve workers rights and conditions I decided I would be the best candidate for Hunter. We need a person who can create opportunities and find solutions to the challenges we face in the future and I believe my background in the union movement and in local governments proves I can do just that."
Mr Wallace comes from a family of generational coalminers and he trained as boilermaker in Cardiff. By the age of 24, he was an organiser with the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union NSW Branch working on issues in the mining, power generation and construction industries.
He was elected to Lake Macquarie City Council in 2008. He served two terms, including a term as Deputy Mayor. In 2014 he was elected the Secretary of the Newcastle Trades Hall Council, now known as Hunter Workers. He has also served as the Chair and Secretary of Labour Co-operative, the Managing Director, Secretary and Vice President of The Newcastle Show and more recently as a Director on the Committee for the Hunter and the City of Newcastle COVID-19 Taskforce.
He described himself as a single Dad with two kids.
Other candidates for the seat include The Nationals James Thomson who is the Maitland Christian School community relations officer and One Nation's Singleton businessman Dale McNamara.
The 2019 One Nation candidate Stuart Bonds is yet to formally announce he will run having parted with ways with his former party and supported the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate in this year's Upper Hunter state by-election.
Mr Bonds gave sitting member Joel Fitzgibbon an almighty fright in 2019 turning the once safe Labor seat into a marginal one and attracting national attention in the process.
The seat will be one to watch on election night given its mix of rural, regional centres and Lake Macquarie suburbia.
Mr Repacholi is the manager of Double R Machinery, Hunter Valley, the New Holland farm equipment dealership best known for their blue tractors and yellow haymaking gear.
He represented Australia in pistol shooting and previously worked at Mount Thorley Warkworth open cut coal mine near Singleton.
Commenting on is chances in Hunter Mr Wallace said he has been elected to every role he has applied for something be believes is important when it comes to winning the seat of Hunter.
"We know you can't rely on corporations to look after regional workers and that's the reason I want to go to Canberra to represent those workers and give them a voice in decisions that affect them directly." he said.