Launceston business woman and academic Vivienne Gale has emerged as a last-minute contender to challenge incumbent MLC Mike Gaffney for the North-West seat of Mersey.
Mr Gaffney had looked certain to be returned unopposed up until nominations closed at noon on Thursday.
But the absence of a customary early announcement by the Electoral Commission in uncontested elections meant voters would be heading to the polls on May 2 after all.
Announcing her 11th-hour candidacy, Ms Gale vowed not to be distracted by ''trendy-left'' issues if she were elected to the upper house.
''I support the Tasmanian forest industry and don't believe the state should legalise same sex marriage,'' she said.
''I will focus my energy on what is best for the people of Tasmania, for the economy and for jobs.''
Mr Gaffney welcomed news he would face competition to reclaim his seat.
Ms Gale's announcement followed a last-minute contender in what was a one-horse race for Derwent, a seat held by Labor's Craig Farrell.
IT consultant Alan Baker said he threw his hat in the ring to give voters a choice in the Southern electorate.
The Electoral Commission will formally confirm candidate nominations on Friday.
TWO sitting MLCs who looked certain to be re-elected unopposed say they are buoyed by 11th-hour indications their seats will be contested.
Nominations for elections in Windermere, Mersey and Derwent closed at midday yesterday.
While four candidates had thrown their hats in the ring for Windermere, none had, by that stage, publicly emerged for either remaining seat.
But shortly after midday, it was confirmed that New Norfolk IT consultant Alan Baker would challenge Derwent Labor MLC Mr Farrell at the May 2 election.
Mr Baker said inspiration to run for the upper house seat did not strike him until late Wednesday afternoon.
"It wasn't planned, that's for sure," Mr Baker said.
"People need a choice and I love a challenge, so I'm excited to give it a go."
Mr Baker said while the finer details of his campaign were yet to be established, his key focus would be on Tasmania harnessing new technologies to drive economic growth.
Mr Farrell said he was relieved to have some competition.
All major parties had this week lamented the dearth of candidates for the upcoming election.
"I'd always assumed somebody would run against me so I've been in campaign mode regardless," Mr Farrell said.
"Apart from a mild touch of the flu at the moment I'm 100 per cent ready to go."
It is still unclear who will challenge Mersey independent MLC Mike Gaffney.
But with a customary early announcement from the Electoral Commission in uncontested elections not forthcoming yesterday, it appears likely that at least one contender has emerged.
Mr Gaffney was not surprised by the development, but said it did not change the goal posts.
"I've been working in this community for decades now so it's just steady as it goes and keep doing what I've been doing," Mr Gaffney said.
"I'm still really excited about my parliamentary work so I'm hopeful the work I've done has been appreciated and people will support me again."
The Electoral Commission will formally confirm candidate nominations at midday today.
FOUR candidates vying for the Northern electorate of Windermere have promised to pound the pavement hard in the final three weeks before polling day.
Incumbent independent MLC Ivan Dean, who has held the seat since 2003, insists his work is not done.
Mr Dean said he wasn't overly confident of returning to office, but was ready and raring to put up an electoral fight.
"I'll certainly work hard and I'm just hoping the people will stand by me and put me back in again," Mr Dean said.
He said if he were to be re-elected, guiding his smoke-free generation bill through Parliament, and refining the government's gun reform laws, would be his primary focus.
Greens candidate Vanessa Bleyer said renewed debate around the drug ice, and fishing trawlers operating in Australian waters, had galvanised her reasons for running.
Ms Bleyer, a practising lawyer and barrister, said crystallised methamphetamine use was an ever-increasing issue throughout the Northern electorate.
"Where any laws filter through to the upper house, I will be advocating for them to efficiently and effectively combat the ice problem we have," Ms Bleyer said.
Ms Bleyer vowed also to lobby on behalf of recreational fishing businesses, in the wake of 95-metre vessel Geelong Star arriving in Western Australia last week.
Labor's Jennifer Houston said her campaign was hinged on renewal, with an eye to health and education.
"People are concerned about the lack of development," Ms Houston said.
"More opportunities, jobs are essential, housing is critical, cost of living pressures are really hurting people."
Ex-CFMEU state secretary Scott McLean, who is running as an independent, said his focus had sharpened significantly since hitting the campaign trail last weekend.
"From my perspective it's simple: we need good education so people can get good jobs and set themselves up for life," Mr McLean said.
"I'll be putting myself out there and speaking to as many people as I possibly can."