While Dr Kotvojs has strong support in the local branches after winning the last preselection and running for the seat at the May election, the contest is considered too close to call after the chaotic withdrawal of NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance.
Mr Constance became the clear favourite to be named Liberal candidate when he declared his candidacy on Monday, but he withdrew on Tuesday after blaming a “smear” against him by NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro.
Dr Kotvojs came close to winning the marginal electorate at the last election, falling 1685 votes short of former Labor MP Mike Kelly on a two-party basis.
While Labor held the seat with 51 per cent of the vote after preferences, the Liberals believe Dr Kelly’s personal support was a major factor in the outcome, making it difficult to repeat after he resigned last month.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese will travel to the electorate on Thursday with Labor candidate Kristy McBain, the mayor of Bega and a prominent advocate for local residents during the bushfires last summer.
Dr Kotvojs has a farm between Narooma and Cobargo and is a former teacher with a doctorate in education.
She has been a director of Oxfam Australia since 2012; her term on the board is due to end this year.
Dr Nockles served in the Navy for 24 years, including service in the Persian Gulf War of 1991, before gaining a doctorate in international relations from the Australian National University.
He was chief of staff to the last Liberal MP for Eden-Monaro, Peter Hendy, as well as an adviser to NSW Liberal Senator Jim Molan. He is government relations manager at World Vision.
Dr Gordon worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs before becoming an adviser to federal trade ministers, later joining the NFF.
While rumours spread on Wednesday that Liberal Party vice-president Teena McQueen was trying to build support for former prime minister Tony Abbott to run for the seat, Ms McQueen told The Sydney Morning Herald the rumour was wrong.
David Crowe is chief political correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.