Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

After calling an early election this morning for May 1, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein now faces the challenge of leading the Liberal Party to a third successive victory -- something it has never before accomplished in the historically Labor-dominated state.

Gutwein's rationale for an election almost a year ahead of time is that Tasmania must be liberated from the fearful uncertainty of minority government, into which it was plunged on Monday when Liberal MP Sue Hickey responded to her effective disendorsement by quitting the party.

However, it's hard to believe this consideration loomed larger in Gutwein's thinking than a simple desire to cash in his government's COVID-19 chips while they remain at peak value.