O'Dowd gears up for career's first preselection fight
KEN O'Dowd is gearing up for the first preselection fight of his political life.
The Member for Flynn and businessman took on the LNP mantle without contest in 2010, and remained unchallenged from within the party at the next two elections.
He is now facing an insurgency from Gladstone Region councillor and former police officer Glenn Churchill, who stood for the seat as the National Party candidate in 2007.
Mr O'Dowd said he was surprised by the challenge but remained confident he would be the party's candidate at the next federal election.
"I was (surprised) a bit, but... there's always a first time for something," he said.
"I think I'm quietly confident, but then you never know what could happen.
"We've seen what happened in the elections to the Senate last weekend in Brisbane, where Barry O'Sullivan, who was an excellent Senator and had only been there for a short time, lost his spot on the ticket.
"And (father of the Senate) Ian Macdonald as well.
"I think a lot of people were surprised in that same hall... so you never know what's around the corner."
Mr O'Dowd said one source of confidence for him was his belief that bookmakers were often more accurate than the pollsters or pundits.
"I always say the bookmakers are always right, and I reckon they'd have me a very short favourite," he said.
"I'm about - who's that racehorse? - Winx.
"I'm about the same as Winx's price".
Local LNP members will choose their candidate over five meetings being held across Central Queensland next weekend, concluding with the final count in Gladstone on Sunday July 22.