AS the reality of an election loss washed-over Adam Blakester's camp the emotions were raw and contrasting.
The independent candidate always faced an uphill battle in his bid to unseat the incumbent New England MP, Barnaby Joyce.
From a standing start, Mr Blakester announced his intention to run for the seat on a platform addressing climate change and "integrity in governance".
It was a short run-up and it was relatively swift defeat.
Mr Joyce declared victory in the 2019 federal election about two hours after polls closed with 53 per cent of the primary vote, lengths ahead of Mr Blakester's 15 per cent.
Looking back in the immediate wash-up of his first foray into federal politics, Mr Blakester ran his race with pride, but its ending was "befuddling".
"I congratulate Barnaby Joyce and thank him for running a very respectful campaign, it's something I, and all of us in my camp, have appreciated," he said.
"The part I'm most proud of is I believe we created a respectful and meaningful set of conversations around the electorate."
It was inspiring to be a part of in that sense, he said.
But Mr Blakester said the result raised a number of questions about the electorate's priorities, because his platform was very distinct from Mr Joyce's.
What does it mean for addressing climate change?
What does it mean for integrity in governance?
"I think Barnaby Joyce, in history, will have one of the worst rapt sheets of member of parliament," he said.
"And to get such a strong primary vote, that is befuddling for me.
"It's really befuddling, but I think it's a superficial support rather than a support based on substance."
While the loss was raw on Saturday night, there was some buoyancy in the camp.
Mr Blakester said this was "a beginning not an end".
But he stopped short of confirming another tilt at New England and said his campaign team would have a debrief before deciding the next step.