The Liberal Party in Gilmore has unanimously elected a new Gilmore Federal Electorate Conference (FEC) President, Paul Ell after Adam Straney resigned from the position.
The past 18 months have been a tumultuous period for the local Liberal Party, marked by party resignations, vacation of a sitting Federal member, allegations of branch stacking and a captains-pick candidate.
Kiama MP Gareth Ward said the unanimous vote for Paul Ell was something unheard of in the local party and showed the strength of Ell's character.
"He is an example of somebody who has shown tremendous resilience and has bucketloads of character," Mr Ward said.
"It's by no accident, that in a show of extraordinary unity, something we haven't seen in our local party for a very long time, every single person felt that he was the right person to lead the Gilmore FEC.
"It's important we reflect on the last election and that we be honest about it... we need a fight in Gilmore, I want a strong campaign so that our region is best served by Federal Government regardless of who's in The Lodge.
"Paul is exactly the right person to lead that fight for the Liberal Party in Gilmore."
Kiama MP Gareth Ward, who has known Paul Ell since he was 15, offered unreserved endorsement and support of his leadership.
Paul Ell ran the last two state campaigns for Gareth Ward.
"To increase my margin on two occasions, he's got to be better than good he's got to be a bloody miracle worker," he said.
"I met him in his school uniform when I was giving him a grant out of my own pocket, I knew then that there was just something genuine and powerful about his character."
Mr Ward spoke about Paul Ell's upbringing.
"Paul is someone whose life could have gone in a very different direction, he's had a very challenging upbringing, he was raised by his grandparents," he said.
"He attended Shoalhaven High where he duxed the school, he went on to work in my office at the same time as he was studying commerce and law at the University of Wollongong."
A source at the FEC meeting said Paul Ell's priorities for his role are to rebuild the branches and membership, fundraise, get a duty senator appointed for the electorate and to have a democratic preselection for the next federal candidate.
Paul Ell is the youngest Liberal Gilmore FEC president.