TAMWORTH'S defeated candidates say the real test for Kevin Anderson begins now as some vow to run again.
The Nationals MP was returned for a third term in the seat of Tamworth and proved to be a surer bet than a number of his party colleagues.
The seats of Barwon and Murray were wrested from the Nats by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (SFF), while there were closely fought tussles in Upper Hunter, Lismore and Dubbo.
While Mr Anderson burst out to an early, and ultimately insurmountable, lead in the race for Tamworth, his combatants have vowed to remain hot on his heels for the next four years.
"This will be a test for Kevin Anderson," SFF candidate Jeff Bacon said.
"If he can't deliver on the promises he's made in the next four years, that will be a catalyst for change.
"He's been put on notice."
Mr Bacon said he would run again in 2023 and called his first campaign a success.
Independent candidate Mark Rodda conceded defeat about an hour after polls closed on Saturday.
While he was proud of the campaign he ran without party backing, he admitted he would need to "play a longer game" if was to defeat Mr Anderson at the polls next time.
He believed the incumbent was endorsed by the electorate mainly through a "personal vote" rather than a party preference.
Mr Rodda hoped this election would deliver a more marginal result in Tamworth, but paid respect to the voters.
"I love this state and this country and whatever people choose then they've got the decision right," he said.
The Greens marginally lifted its vote in Tamworth and received about 2.6 per cent of the primary picks.
Candidate Robin Gunning said it would take longer for the winds of change to blow through Tamworth compared with other electorates and thought Mr Rodda would've make it a closer race than it was.
"Things will changes, it just takes time," Dr Gunning said.
"This would have to be one of the most conservative seats." Labor candidate Stephen Mears was contacted for comment.