Tenterfield army officer Alex Rubin's preselection challenge to Barnaby Joyce won't be his last shot at New England politics, he said.
"I hope to see you all back here in three years time," he told media on Saturday after conceding the challenge by 100 votes.
The decorated army officer and hero of the 2018 Thai cave rescue said his failed challenge was about the party's future.
"The pitch I made to [voting party members] was that we to look at what the party will do for succession planning with members beyond Mr Joyce, noting that he is a very influential and delivering quite good service and advocating on behalf of the New England," he said.
"My pitch was that we need to look for the future and I would like to see for a new generation of candidates being considered, not now, but potentially in the future."
He's not currently considering running in a state election "but I will always keep my options open."
Mr Rubin denied he ran in the preselection to set himself up to be Mr Joyce's successor.
Mr Joyce won the contest convincingly and will contest his fifth lower house election, though he speculated the federal election would not be held until 2022.
In a party meeting in Armidale on Saturday afternoon, some 112 party members voted for Mr Joyce to be the next candidate for the seat.
Just 12 voted for Mr Rubin.
Mr Rubin was Mr Joyce's first preselection challenger since his first run at the Division of New England in 2013.
Mr Joyce said he was "incredibly humbled" to be preselected for office again, and said he didn't take anything for granted.
"I never take anything for granted, and I'll fight for every vote. Come election time I'll fight for every vote, again," he said.
"The one thing people hate is a sense of entitlement a sense that you think you deserve to be there."
Asked if his opponent had a future in the party, he said there were many great candidates the party could choose from.
"To say one person is above the others is unfair on those other candidates who I know are there because National party has a great future we have a great succession plan and when that time comes and it always does we will make sure that transition is as smooth and effective as possible," he said.
Mr Rubin, an army major and well-known Tenterfield local, has served in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Israel and was part of a UN mission to Syria among other missions. He was also called up to organise logistics for the army response to the Black Summer bushfires.
He served as the defence force lead during the 2018 Thai rescue.
"For myself I will be standing behind Mr Joyce [at the federal election] 100 per cent," he said.
"I'll be at the front lines of the polling booth and I'll be his strongest advocate. Because this is about the National Party it's not about one person and the party has always been bigger than one person."
Party chairman Andrew Fraser said Mr Rubin had the right to contest a preselection.
"At the end of the day it's experience and if he wishes to stand at some time in the future he gained some valuable experience today," he said.
He said there are no hard feelings over the contest.
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