With time running out, the Liberal party still hasn't shown their hand on most seats in the Illawarra.
Heathcote incumbent Lee Evans has nominated in his seat, but with nominations closing at noon on Wednesday, there are a raft of seats with no Liberals.
No-one from that major party has been announced for Keira, Wollongong, Shellharbour or Kiama.
In fact, the party has rejected two people who put their hand up to run in Kiama - the most recent was local author Gail Morgan.
The Mercury understands the Liberals intend to field candidates in Keira, Shellharbour and Kiama.
It is unlikely a Liberal will stand in Wollongong; which is hardly surprising with Paul Scully's 22.9 per cent margin making it Labor's second-safest state seat.
But with less than three weeks to go until the election, leaving it until the last minute to announce candidates won't give them much hope of winning.
Not even in Kiama, which Premier Dominic Perrrottet is still insistent the Liberals will win.
Other Illawarra Liberals beg to differ, suggesting they will be "paper candidates" only. Unknowns parachuted in to fill a space on the ballot paper.
One castigated the party for this approach, saying it was more "disrespectful" to the local electorates than not running a candidate at all.
Wollongong MP Paul Scully found the lack of Liberal candidates on the ground "frustrating".
"I think the people of Wollongong deserve someone to try and defend the government's record on things like the hospital's performance, the slower train services, their attempt to scrap the Gong Shuttle," Mr Scully said.
"It'd be good if there was someone to actually make any sort of commitment to Wollongong. The Premier hasn't even visited the third largest city in the state while he's been Premier.
"That's how much the Liberals ignore Wollongong and this area."
It'd be good if there was someone to actually make any sort of commitment to Wollongong.- Wollongong MP Paul Scully on the lack of Liberals running in Illawarra seats
Part of the problem is simply finding local Liberals who want to run in electorates where any chance of a win is unlikely.
Wollongong City councillor John Dorahy is a Liberal politician with the highest profile in the region.
Before serving on council, Cr Dorahy ran in Keira in 2011 against first-timer Ryan Park.
While he didn't win, Cr Dorahy rode the statewide wave of disenchantment with Labor earning a massive 15 per cent swing to him.
For a moment, he turned Keira into a marginal seat.
But even then, Cr Dorahy was advised that he may have stood a better chance by not running as a Liberal.
"Back in 2011 I was advised by a senior Liberal at that time that maybe it would be better placed for me to run as an independent," Cr Dorahy said.
"I probably would have gotten across the line in the seat of Keira against Ryan, but would I have achieved as much as an independent as trying to get in there in what was likely to be government that time? Probably not."
Cr Dorahy said he had been approached to run in an Illawarra seat for the 2023 state election, but he declined.
He does feel that in a Labor-dominated city it can be extremely hard to find people willing to fly the Liberal flag in elections.
"It is difficult because people see it as an extremely strong Labor-oriented city and we know that there's a very vociferous push from the union movement," Cr Dorahy said.
"There's also been a lot of angst taken against the Liberal state government for their perceived lack of attention to Wollongong.
"The state government and state bureaucracy have provided quite an enormous amount of funding to Wollongong over the course of the last three years.
"Has it been reported on as well as what it could be? I would suggest not."
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