For the two main protagonists in the Griffith byelection, win or lose, it will be the end of a journey.

A field of 11 candidates have put themselves forward to replace former prime minister Kevin Rudd in parliament, but realistically it will be a choice between the Liberal National Party's Bill Glasson and Labor's Terri Butler.

Dr Glasson's journey has lasted 14 months, having also contested Griffith at last year's general election, but there is no sense of déjà vu for the former Australian Medical Association president.

Terri Butler and Bill Glasson after their on-air debate at Bulimba.

Terri Butler and Bill Glasson after their on-air debate at Bulimba. Photo: Cameron Atfield

“On September 5, I was feeling like I was going to go very close to Mr Rudd,” Dr Glasson said of the 2013 campaign, held on September 7.

“I felt that we'd done the hard work, the feeling in the electorate was that we needed a change and I felt that we were going to go close.

“I must say in the last day, when the bookies were paying out on Mr Abbott, there was a feeling of 'we don't want to give him too big a kick', so there was a bit of pullback, but my feeling at that stage was that we were going to go close.

“This time, I haven't got a feeling. There's so many people still not engaged in the byelection that I don't have a feeling of where I am, although I have a gut feeling it's going to be close.”

Dr Glasson managed to win the primary vote in the general election, losing to Mr Rudd on the strength of largely Greens preferences but reducing Labor's margin to just 3 per cent.

Unlike Dr Glasson, Ms Butler has no previous campaign to which to compare her experience on the Griffith byelection campaign trail.

But the employment lawyer said there had been no great surprises during her first tilt at public office.

“I've been working on election campaigns for 15 years, but I've not been a candidate before. Having seen it from the side of the campaign worker, I have been extremely mindful of the fact that the candidate can have the tendency to be a bit sensitive,” Ms Butler said.

“I've tried very hard not to take that out on anyone around me, I've tried very hard – and I don't know how successful I've been – not to be buffeted by the day's press, to be tossed around by the issues of the day, but just to stay really focused and to stay really positive.”

Ms Butler said she was undaunted by her rise from relative obscurity to national political figure.

“You can imagine if you've fallen out with your boss and you've done so hard enough to come and see a lawyer like me, things are probably pretty bad in your life – I have a box of tissues in my consultation room because people are in pretty distressed emotional states,” she said.

“That's what's hard, being a voice of pragmatism in difficult emotional situations. Talking to journalists about things I care about and what people care about, that's not hard.

“In terms of the attention, I've been so busy I haven't had time to notice it. The only thing I've really noticed is more trolls on Twitter and I just block them.”

Looking back on his campaign, Dr Glasson said local issues had tended to be drowned out by the national machinations in Canberra – local issues such as the experience of the candidates, CCTV security and freight trains cutting through the suburbs.

“I'd like to see the coal trains go underground – they're dirty, they're noisy, they're longer trains – I think the passenger trains are less of an issue than the coal trains,” he said, adding it was a project that would require fund that were, as yet, non-existent.

“The amount of freight going to and from the Port of Brisbane is going to be huge, so I think that would be an exciting project that would do a lot for the port itself and also for the constituents in Griffith who have to deal with the noise and the coal dust.”

Dr Glasson said, even at this late hour, there were still votes to be won.

“I'll be trying to get to as many booths as I can, just to say thank you to all our workers on those booths,” he said.

“It's a tough job, they're campaigning all day until 6 o'clock at night.”

Should he get over the line this time around, Dr Glasson said his first task as an MP would be to thank the people of Griffith. Then, it would be down to business.

“I'd want people to see me not as the LNP candidate for Griffith, but as Bill Glasson, the local member,” he said.

“Forget about party politics, the election will be over, party politics are out. It'll a matter of working with the team you have and I'll get to know them in Canberra, sit back and listen initially to learn how things operate, but mainly to remain focused on being a good local member.”

Ms Butler said she would draw inspiration from an independent member of parliament should she be elected on Saturday.

“I want to engage with community organisations but I also want to get to those people who are a bit disconnected from public life and from community life and find out what their problems are,” she said.

“I've been reading a little bit about the campaign in Indi that Cathy McGowan ran – there's quite a good model of community engagement that she used on the ground – and I'd be really interested to see if we can adapt that here.”

Come Sunday, Ms Butler will either be getting into the mindset of being a member of parliament, or returning to her job at Maurice Blackburn lawyers.

The same professional crossroad will apply to Dr Glasson, an ophthalmologist whose registration would be in doubt if he stopped practicing.

So it is now or never for Dr Glasson's political career?

“I'll never say never, but I've put 14 months into this. It's been hard work and I've enjoyed it, but I think I'd need time when this is over to think about my political future should I not be successful,” he said.