Former Liberal candidate Katherine Deves will not contest an internal party race to fill Jim Molan’s vacant Senate seat.
Ms Deves had announced her candidacy earlier this week, but revealed on Sunday she would withdraw to prioritise her legal advocacy in the landmark Tickle v Giggle court case.
The lawyer turned unsuccessful candidate for Warringah told Sky News Australia it “wasn’t the right time” to make another bid at politics.
“This week (there was) a lot of soul searching, a few sleepless nights (but) ultimately it came down to a question of priorities as to whether I nominated for the Senate and I just decided at this time it just wasn’t the right time for me,” Ms Deves said.
“There’s a strong field of candidates here all bringing something different to the table.
“It’s going to be very hard fought and I have full faith that the Liberal Party selectors will choose the right person to carry on Jim Molan’s legacy.”
Senator Jim Molan died in January aged 72 after an extended battle with cancer.
The former army major general’s death left a vacant spot in the Senate which will be filled by a vote of the NSW state branch.
A strong field of candidates has emerged in recent weeks including state party president Maria Kovacic who stepped down from her position to make another tilt at federal politics after failing to win the seat of Parramatta at 2022 election.
The successful businesswoman who is aligned with the state’s powerful moderate faction looks set to face a challenge from her wing of the party from former state minister Andrew Constance.
Speaking to Sky News Australia’s Laura Jayes in March after the Liberal Party’s disastrous state election campaign, Mr Constance refused to rule out putting his hand up for the late-Jim Molan’s vacant Senate spot.
“Well there’s nominations opening soon and I will have some more to say about that,” the former NSW treasurer and transport minister said.
Ms Deves was believed to be one of the highest profile conservatives seeking the late-senator’s spot.
Her withdrawal paves the way for potential candidate Jess Collins to fill the gap on the conservative side.
SkyNews.com.au understands the pre-selection vote will take place before July.