The extended preselection process for NSW Liberal-held House of Representatives seats seems to be throwing open the process. The Sydney Morning Herald  today builds on Crikey’s earlier reports, with news of emerging challengers in the seat of Cook, being vacated by Bruce Baird, and against stonewaller Alan Cadman in Mitchell. 

There’s no talk of a challenge against Philip Ruddock in Berowra, although many people feel that after almost three-and-a-half decades he’s had a decent go. 

That means the real question is — will anyone poke the Bronwyn Bishop beehive in Mackellar. Crikey understands that ambitious young moderate Jason Falinksi was thinking about giving it a go, but has pulled back.

There’s been some speculation that Bishop might try a Baird — announce her retirement at the very last minute and slot a staffer in the seat. That’s gone silent for now. What is present, however, is a low-key but persistent buzz that no one really cares about Bishop — from the Prime Minister on down. They think her time has certainly come and gone.

The NSW Libs, sources say, are relaxed about Bishop losing her seat. As long as it’s not too bitter, Crikey is told, the powers that be in the party don’t necessarily think a preselection competition in Mackellar would be a bad thing.