HE HELPED Barack Obama to become president of the US — but can newcomer Damian Ogden beat sitting MP Laurie Ferguson in an ALP preselection battle for the federal seat of Werriwa?
Mr Ogden hopes to defeat Mr Ferguson in a party ballot to be held on Saturday, March 9.
The Casula resident founded a grassroots training organisation, Campaign Action, after being inspired by the community-led action he saw as he worked on Mr Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
He said this year's election, on September 14, would be tough and Labor needed to win back voters' trust in western Sydney. "I think it is important we have a candidate who is local and who will go out and talk to people and talk about the issues," he said.
Mr Ogden said feedback from local branch members had been positive.
Mr Ferguson, who has held the seat since 2010, said Mr Ogden was "not a serious challenge".
"What the other candidate is doing is essentially trying to put himself in front of a lot of other candidates for when I do retire," he said.
"It's about positioning for the future and putting himself on the horizon.
"There's no way the party's going to switch candidates; his supporters in the party are saying the same thing."
Mr Ferguson said he supported Prime Minister Julia Gillard, in spite of poll results released earlier this week that showed support for Labor and Ms Gillard had plummeted.
The Liberal Party has preselected Sutherland Shire mayor Kent Johns to run in Werriwa.
He has started campaigning.