No one can deny Scott Morrison led a brilliant campaign - the numbers across the nation tell us that. The numbers also tell us his intervention in Gilmore was a disaster.
The parachuting of former ALP national president Warren Mundine into the seat over the top of preselected candidate Grant Schultz went down like a lead balloon. It split the conservative vote and fed into Labor's narrative that the Coalition was in disarray.
That narrative might not have worked nationally but it certainly did at the local level. Labor's Fiona Phillips traded on her local roots and, when nerves were frayed towards the end of the campaign, she even told Mundine to go back to where he came from.
Schultz also traded on his localism but his personal profile outside Milton-Ulladulla was simply too low to cut through.
The entry of former NSW minister Katrina Hodgkinson into the race for the Nationals confused matters further. The optics of two former Gilmore Liberal MPs - Ann Sudmalis and Joanna Gash - campaigning on her behalf fuelled the sense of conservative disarray. And try as she did to claim local connections, Hodgkinson, too, was seen as a blow-in.
The numbers reflect the damage. The first preference Liberal vote was down 16.54 per cent to 28.74 per cent. Hodgkinson got 12.9 per cent of the first preference vote for the Nationals. Milton Leslight for Clive Palmer's United Australia Party got 3.3 per cent. Schultz garnered 7 per cent. The Christian Democratic Party managed 1.7 per cent, down 3.3 per cent from 2016.
Combined, the conservative primary vote may have outperformed the combined Labor-Greens vote - 53.74 per cent to 46.26 - but because the vote was split, preferences worked in Labor's favour.
An inference can be drawn from these numbers. With Labor unlikely to have received Liberal, Nationals, UAP or CDP preferences, it's highly likely preferences flowed to Labor from the Greens and, curiously, from Schultz.
That tells us, and should inform political leaders, that in the seat of Gilmore being local is much more important that having a high national profile.