However, party headquarters had not received any nominations from party members touted as candidates, leaving open the possibility Mr Ambrose could face a contest from an as-yet undeclared challenger.

The path to Mr Ambrose’s preselection was cleared with the withdrawal of WA Liberal state director Sam Calabrese from the race. Mr Calabrese, who was a frontrunner to replace Mr Cormann, wrote to Liberal State Council delegates indicating he would shelve plans to enter Parliament to focus on the 2021 state election campaign.

Mr Ambrose was one of 15 family members who disputed Mr Buckeridge’s will after the 77-year-old construction mogul died in 2014.

After a protracted litigation, in 2018 the family decided to sell the BGC business empire to resolve the dispute. Plans to break up the business were shelved with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and Mr Ambrose, along with Mr Buckeridge’s sons, withdrew from the day-to-day management of the business.

Mr Ambrose remains a non-executive director of the company, which remains one of the biggest private firms in the country.

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WA Liberal policy committee chairman Sherry Sufi is also in the race, claiming support from conservative delegates.

Dr Sufi faces accusations the circumstances of his resignation as the Liberal candidate for the safe Labor seat of Fremantle during the 2016 federal election would lead to negative media coverage. He has been campaigning for preselection on his policy work within the party since his abandoned preselection and his academic qualifications.

But he has faced intense pressure to withdraw his candidacy to smooth Mr Ambrose’s path to a winnable spot on the Senate ticket.

The preselection will be held in Perth on November 7.

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