David Drummond may have won the first round, but his success at the March 1920 elections was by no means assured.
Under the multi-member proportional representation system being tried for the first time, three members were to be elected.
Drummond considered, accurately, that the Labor vote would be disciplined and that their number one candidate, Australian Workers' Union organiser Alfred McClelland, would certainly be elected first.
He also considered, again accurately, that Colonel M.F. Bruxner, the Progressives' star candidate, would be elected next.
Bruxner was then 38. Deservedly popular, he had a fine war record, was a member of an old grazing family and a grazier and stock and station agent himself, was a noted amateur rider at picnic races and had a friendly, out-going personality.
Bruxner's assured success left Drummond contending for third place against a galaxy of candidates, including two sitting members, F.J. Thomas and H.W. Lane, the Nationalist member for Armidale.
This was difficult enough. In addition, each Progressive candidate had to organise his own campaign committee and pay for his own personal expenses including publicity, printing, advertising and travel. Short of funds, the Central Council would only pay for general party advertising and for rent of halls when authorised by the District Councils.
This created no problems for the wealthy and popular Bruxner, but for the poor and still struggling Drummond it was another matter. Although his campaign committee numbered 30, no less than 29 were from the Inverell district. The Drummond campaign organisation was described by a local stock inspector as "one newspaper and a handful of cockies".
They may only have been a handful of cockies, but their loyalty and work were vital.
The support given by Drummond's old friends from Mt. Russell, the Coshs, was particularly important. Leonard Cosh appointed himself Drummond's advance agent and political secretary. He was supported fully by his brother Arthur. Their uncle, Stephen Cosh, provided transport.
Stephen had recently lost his wife. Advised by his doctor to go away on a trip, Cosh bought a large car with a camping body intending to take his daughter on a tour of Western Australia. The daughter's appendicitis forced the trip's cancellation.
Stephen Cosh now offered to drive Drummond around the electorate free of charge 'except for petrol and a tyre or two'. He stipulated, however, that he would not stay in hotels because of his nervous condition.
To Drummond, who had a store of inexhaustible energy and a powerful voice but little money, this offer was a Godsend. The following campaign showed Drummond's drive as well as his emerging political shrewdness.