THE Liberal Party’s first ever endorsed mayoral candidate in Newcastle has struck a conciliatory tone as campaigning for next month’s election gears up, saying he’s one of the few people on the city’s council who “gets along with everyone”.
David Compton, one of three sitting councillors running for lord mayor, said he was “incredibly humbled” to receive the nomination for Lord Mayor from the Liberal Party after a fraught preselection period during which the Newcastle Herald reported sections of the party were divided about endorsing a candidate.
But Mr Compton denied he had been pressured not to stand, saying the longer-than-usual delay between being preselected – on July 26 – and officially endorsed – on August 8, was down to the unprecedented nature of his candidacy.
“I just think because we haven’t run a Liberal mayor before it probably took a little bit of extra time to make sure it was right,” he said.
“But I’m incredibly humbled that the Liberal Party have put their trust in me.”
In an often bitterly divided council term, Mr Compton developed a reputation for being willing to speak to both sides of the aisle.
He’s regularly supported the Labor-Greens dominated council on issues including its Smart Cities agenda, and while the prominent Kath Elliott-led independent group has aggressively pursued the current council and Labor Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Mr Compton said his bipartisan instincts were a strength.
“I don’t think there’s any use in standing in the way of good policy for the sake of it,” he said.
“I’m one of the few people in the council who gets along with everyone.
“I don’t see local government as being a place that you should use as a ground for bickering.
“I honestly have great admiration for anyone who stands for public office and I look forward to working with all of my colleagues.”
The full list of nominee for next month’s council election have now been decided. Joining Cr Compton, Cr Nelmes and Ms Elliott in the race for lord mayor is current Greens councillor Therese Doyle – who overcame her own internal party stoush – independents Rod Holding and Ron Brown, and Steve O’Brien from the Socialist Alliance.
The other members heading up the Liberal Party ticket are Taylor Wright in Ward 1, Brad Luke in Ward 2 and Hannah Eves in Ward 4. Mr Compton is also running in Ward 3.