It won't be a clash of dynasties for Wentworth
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It won't be a clash of dynasties for Wentworth

If political intrigue had its way, the preselection battle for Wentworth would be an almighty clash of dynasties, with relatives of the two feuding prime ministers whose personal vendetta almost tore the Liberal Party apart vying to claim the bluest of thrones.

Tony Abbott's sister Christine Forster and Malcolm Turnbull's son-in-law James Brown have both been mentioned in the mix of potential candidates for Mr Turnbull's soon to be vacant seat.

But the showdown is unlikely to eventuate, as the moderate branches of the Liberal Party - which overwhelmingly dominate the Wentworth electorate - are believed to be backing two other candidates.

Dave Sharma, a former diplomat and partner at an accountancy firm, has been touted as a frontrunner. He was born in Vancouver and it is understood he has already renounced his Canadian citizenship.

Dave Sharma with Jillian Segal and Lucy Turnbull.

Dave Sharma with Jillian Segal and Lucy Turnbull.

Photo: supplied

But support is also building for former acting Liberal Party director Andrew Bragg, a close friend and ally of Mr Turnbull, who ran the Coaltion's 2017 "Yes" campaign for the marriage equality vote.

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"The vast majority of moderates will looking closely at David Sharma or Andrew Bragg," a senior Liberal source said.

"Wentworth wants a future minister or prime minister; that is the calibre of candidate they are looking for," the source said, suggesting both men would tick this box for the branches.

Former acting Liberal Party Director Andrew Bragg is considered a close ally and friend to Malcolm Turnbull.

Former acting Liberal Party Director Andrew Bragg is considered a close ally and friend to Malcolm Turnbull.

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Another Liberal source said the branches had not made a decision.

"It is absolutely not a fait accompli. Malcolm hasn't resigned, nominations haven't opened and there are a lot of impressive people who may yet put their hands up," the local Liberal said.

"Generally, the feeling is that we would want a local."

Mr Bragg, who has been mounting a campaign for a NSW Senate seat, lives in the electorate, while it is understood Mr Sharma does not.

Mr Bragg is also well known in Wentworth Liberal circles, as he served for several years as the secretary of the Wentworth Federal Electoral Conference, a key fundraising and campaigning vehicle for the seat.

Whoever takes up the mantle for the Liberals, will face a challenge from Labor's Tim Murray, an investment analyst who speaks Mandarin.

High profile independent, Alex Greenwich, the current state MP for Sydney, is also believed to be considering a tilt.

Wentworth is one of Australia's most moneyed and highly educated electorates, as well as one of the gayest and most Jewish. It is accustomed to electing representatives with intellectual heft and impressive CVs.

Both Mr Turnbull and his predecessor, Peter King, were Rhodes Scholars at Oxford University and had careers as barristers before entering politics. Former opposition leader John Hewson, who famously lost the unlosable 1993 election to Paul Keating, held the seat between 1987 and 1995.

On this front, Mr Sharma brings the goods. In 2013, at the age of 37 he became Australia's youngest ever ambassador when he was appointed ambassador to Israel.

Before that, he served as legal adviser to former foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer from 2004 to 2006, before taking up a post at the Australian embassy in Washington.

As the Liberal party room sealed Mr Turnbull's fate behind closed doors on Friday, Ms Forster, a councillor at the City of Sydney, confirmed she was eyeing off his seat, saying "colleagues were encouraging me to stand".

Mr Brown and his young family were with Mr Turnbull in Canberra on Friday. The family snapped a final photo in the Prime Minister's Office after Mr Turnbull delivered his last press conference as leader.

The previous day, in a letter to the membership of RSL NSW - where he serves as president - Mr Brown addressed the "speculation that I will enter federal politics".

"I am fully engaged in the task of returning this league to be the pre-eminent organisation caring for veterans and their families,” the letter said.

Mr Turnbull did not name a date for his departure from politics, but said he intended to do so "not before too long".

Lisa Visentin is state political reporter. She has previously covered urban affairs, and worked in federal parliament.