James Ashby could take on Jarrod Bleijie for Kawana
PAULINE Hanson's chief of staff and closest adviser James Ashby looks set to run for One Nation in the upcoming state election.
Former party president Ian Nelson told The Australian that the staffer's ambition to run at the state election was an "open secret in the party".
Mr Nelson, who quit as the party's president recently after a disagreement with Mr Ashby, said he would have a good chance at winning the Sunshine Coast seat of Kawana, which is currently held by former Newman Government attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie.
"Everybody in the party knows he is planning to run, it is an open secret,'' he said.
"And he would have a good chance because Pauline would be there beside him the whole campaign.''
Mr Ashby declined to confirm the report yesterday.
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"That is speculation at this moment, pure speculation,'' Mr Ashby told The Australian.
The staffer joined the party after waging a high-profile discrimination case against his former boss Peter Slipper that was ultimately unsuccessful.
He has since been embroiled in bitter disputes with former One Nation senator Rod Culleton's chief of staff Margaret Menzel and former Queensland candidates for the party.
One dumped candidate Shan Ju Lin called for Ashby to be sacked after he sent her a Facebook message informing her she would no longer be representing the party, following her comments about gay people on social media.
Mr Ashby is reportedly seen as a potential state leader for the party.
Reports of his tilt at state politics come just days after Queensland LNP member Steve Dickson jumped ship to join One Nation.
Mr Dickson is also seen as a potential state leader.