Senior Cairns Post journalist and Chief of Staff, Damon Guppy, has put his hand up to help run King's LNP bid for the State seat of Cairns. He resigns his Post role in the next week.
Guppy has been with the Post for ten years, covering political and police reporting. He became their chief reporter and chief of staff. Guppy's departure from the Post will leave a void of institutional knowledge and vast experience.
Also joining King's campaign team is former Cairns Regional Council media chief, Kerie Hull, who will head the media team. Hull was sacked two years ago from her $130,000 a year job for "gross misconduct", after she was embroiled in secret deal with Radio 4CA that Mayor Val Schier was unaware of. The saga involved a $17,000 report that Council commissioned Jim Henry SC to investigate. It also led to the resignation of CEO Noel Briggs.
Commercial property salesman and former member of The Nationals, now with the LNP, Martin Lee, will also join King's campaign team. Lee, who is also a director of the Cairns Regional Gallery, has helped on former Cairns Mayor Kevin Bryne's political team.
The seat of Cairns is a crucial one for either party and acts as a litmus test for an election. Labor has infamously held the seat continually for 100 years, however with strong opposition to the State government and record low polling, it's likely that they will lose Cairns in the predicted March poll. Some are still suggesting the State election will be called early.
The selection of Kirsten Lesina some months ago by Labor, that was supported by Premier Bligh, showed that keeping Rail union activist and sporting identity Richie Bates from the selection primarily due to his opposition of the asset sales, was more important to sitting Labor MP Desley Boyle, than winning the safe seat of Cairns.
Former policeman Darren "DJ" Hunt, formerly of the Queensland Party, now representing Katter's Australian Party, along with Cairns teacher Steve Brech of The Greens, will also contest the Cairns seat.
It is likely Family First will also field a candidate, as well as at least one independent.