THE Labor Party looks set to offer former Launceston General Hospital spokesman and surgical business manager Geoff Lyons preselection for the federal seat of Bass.
Mr Lyons lodged his formal expression of interest in Labor preselection this week and Labor Senator Helen Polley said that Mr Lyons had powerful party support.
Preselection is expected to open after the March state election but a factional deal means Mr Lyons could be preselected unopposed.
Bass Labor MHR Jodie Campbell announced in October that she would quit federal politics at this year's election, which is likely to be held in November.
"I have been shoring up my numbers since Jodie announced she was quitting," Mr Lyons said yesterday.
Historically, Labor Party factions fight each other for the right to have their candidate preselected.
Mr Lyons, who is well known across Northern sporting circles, is a member of Labor Unity, the party's right faction.
"I have been talking with the Left (faction) as well," he said.
He said he would not run for preselection if he didn't think he had support from all the party factions, and could win.
Mr Lyons said even members of the Liberal Party had urged him to stand for Bass.
"Quite a few people contacted me after Jodie decided not to run - Liberal and Labor," he said.
The Liberal Party has selected former television newsreader Steve Titmus to run for Bass.
If preselected, Mr Lyons said health, aged care, youth and sport issues would be on his agenda.
Labor sources say Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, formerly a member of Labor Unity, made it clear he wanted a man to run for Bass after the recent distress experienced by incumbent Bass MHR Jodie Campbell.
Ms Campbell, from the Left faction of the Labor Party, was preselected for Bass at the 2006 election after the Right's Steve Reissig stood down for personal reasons.
A member of the Labor Party since 1971, Mr Lyons lives at Riverside and is married to Sheryle. They have three adult daughters
Mr Lyons worked for Bass Labor MHA Peter Patmore for three years from 1998.
He retired from his role at the LGH last year and worked part- time for Senator Polley and also for Ms Campbell.
Senator Polley said Ms Campbell supported Mr Lyons's bid.
Ms Campbell did not return The Examiner's calls yesterday.
It is believed Mr Lyons's run for preselection has been smoothed by Labor Unity's decision not to contest Denison preselection. The safe Labor seat becomes vacant with the retirement of long-standing member Duncan Kerr.
Former state attorney-general Judy Jackson's son, Michael, will stand for Denison.