Best in hunt to retain seat

ROGUE Labor MP Brenton Best says he remains ``quietly confident'' of returning to Parliament after looking almost certain to lose his seat on election night.

A two-party tussle for the fifth Braddon seat has kept scrutineers, analysts and punters extremely busy in the nine days since the March 15 poll.

The outcome will determine whether Mr Best rejoins the lower house or whether the Liberal Party makes history by winning four seats in one electorate in the 25-member House of Assembly.

Mr Best said yesterday ``a lot of maybes'' could come into play when Hare-Clark scrutiny begins tomorrow, but he was ``an even chance'' of coming out on top to snatch the undecided seat.

``I think I'll get the seat at the end of the day,'' Mr Best said.

``I'm confident to some extent but I'm realistic to know there are a lot of things that can easily go against me.''

The Devonport-based politician conceded Greens preferences were highly unlikely to go his way given his sustained, vocal opposition to the Labor-Green alliance.

``There is a very limited chance for me to get the Greens' preferences,'' he said.

``But it's hard to see their preferences going back to the Liberal Party, so they'll probably come to the Labor Party.''

Mr Best said ALP scrutineers were giving him positive feedback about the flow of preferences from National Party and Palmer United Party voters.

``Scrutineers have relayed to me that something like 32 per cent of PUP preferences were going to Labor, whereas only 17 per cent were going to the Liberals,'' he said.

``It is just an indication so I'm not going to hang my hat on it, but that's what I'm hearing.''

Tasmanian Liberal Party director Sam McQuestin said his party remained hopeful of securing the hotly contested seat.

``I certainly wouldn't say it's my expected outcome, but we are in with a chance,'' Mr McQuestin said.

``It's very pleasing to be in the hunt, but we're not getting ahead of ourselves.''

Electoral Commissioner Julian Type said Hare-Clark scrutiny would be completed by Thursday or Friday.

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