As Victoria’s election campaign tightens, these are some of the seats the leaders have visited

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In the last few weeks of campaigning, the two men vying to become Victoria’s premier have zig-zagged across the state.

Where they’ve visited could give some clues as to how they think things might shape up in the final piece.

We’ve covered the media-invited press conferences held by Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and Labor Premier Daniel Andrews since November 2.

As this map shows, Mr Andrews has held six press conferences in the seat of Melbourne – although this is likely due to the central location rather than targeted campaigning in the seat.

There are three places Mr. Andrews has visited twice during this period — Northcote, Eureka and Geelong.

In Northcote, incumbent Labor MP Kat Theophanous is fighting to hold on to the inner Melbourne seat, while the Greens mount a tough challenge with candidate Campbell Gomes.

The party holds the seat with a margin of 1.7 percent – and it has been held by the Greens before, when now-senator Lidia Thorpe won it in a by-election in 2017.

A woman in a green t-shirt holds out a pamphlet in front of political posters.
The Greens and Labor are locked in a close battle for the seat of Northcote.(ABC News: Danielle Bonica)

The other two seats, Eureka and Geelong, are in the major regional hubs of Ballarat and Geelong — seats where Labor has been dominant since 1999.

Sir. Andrews has also visited Labor-held seats in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, including St Albans, Mølleparken, Bayswater (a redistributed seat), Dandenong and Nar Warren South as well as Foot scraper in the inner west.

Other election appearances where Andrews has invited the media include Caulfield and Ovens Valley.

On the other side of politics, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has been visiting Labor teams Bentleigh in Melbourne’s inner east three times.

He has also made a media trip to Kewwith the party hoping that freshman candidate Jess Wilson can defeat “green-green” challenger Sophie Torney.

But he has not appeared media-invited nearby Thornwhich high-profile Liberal figure John Pesutto is hoping to wrest back from Labour’s John Kennedy – a situation complicated by “greengreen” candidate Melissa Lowe.

John Pesutto in a blue t-shirt looks like a paper standing in front of teal volunteers.
John Pesutto faces a blue-green challenger as he tries to win back Hawthorn from Labour.(ABC News: Danielle Bonica)

Mr. Guy has made two more trips Werribeewhich has historically been a safe Labor seat but is facing a challenge from independents.

Outside of Melbourne, both Mr. Guy and Mr. Andrews visited Morwellwhere they have shared their competing visions for the future of Latrobe Valley communities in a clean energy economy.

Mr. Guy has also taken another trip Sheppartonas the Liberals and Nationals fight to wrest the independent Suzanna Sheed.

And the Liberal leader has been inside Benambrawhich is held by his party but faces a challenge from an independent candidate.

Matthew Guy stands in front of a blue sign that says 'Welcome to Victoria'.
Matthew Guy campaigned in Wodonga in the state’s north-east on Thursday.(AAP: Simon Dallinger)

Back in Melbourne, Mr. Guy spent time in several places in Melbourne’s south-east, such as on Nepeanwhich the party hopes to win back from Labor with former professional tennis player Sam Groth.

He has also held press conferences in Hastings, Frankston, Nar Warren South, Mordialloc, Oakleigh, Prahran, Sunbury, Warrandyte, Yan Yean and Melbourne.

Guy has held a media event in the nearby seat Narracanbut the election there will be held at a later date, after the death of the Nationals candidate.

Political leaders ‘minimize contact’ in public as culture shifts

While a leader’s visit to a seat is traditionally about connecting with the community and supporting their candidate, those on the buses have observed a carefully staged set of media events – in part because of concerns about security.

Former associate editor of The Age, Denis Muller, said there were a number of factors that had led political leaders towards more tightly choreographed outings.

Posters of Labour, Liberal candidates in Box Hill.
Labour’s Paul Hamer is fighting to keep Box Hill, which is held by a 3.1 per cent margin.(ABC News: Danielle Bonica)

“I certainly think Scott Morrison’s experience after the bushfires, particularly in Cobargo where people refused to shake his hand and shouted obscenities at him, was a lesson for all politicians,” said Dr. Muller.

“Another factor is social media, everyone’s phone is now a sound recorder and a camera and a video camera.

“And so I think they’re afraid that any potential for accidents on social media is a problem, so they try to minimize contact.”

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