Despite a perception his entry into the Napier electorate race helped secure the seat for Labour's Stuart Nash, Conservative Party candidate Garth McVicar says there was "no alternative" to the way he ran his campaign.
National's unsuccessful candidate in the seat, Wayne Walford, is among those who believe Mr McVicar's presence in the campaign had the effect of splitting the right-wing vote in the electorate - to the benefit of Mr Nash.
Mr Walford and Mr McVicar had a combined election night vote tally of 17,443 - while Mr Nash's winning total was 14,041.
Mr McVicar said he knew the sentiment that his campaign had effectively taken votes off Mr Walford was out there and people had mentioned it as a scenario even before he announced his candidacy, "but I don't see what the alternative was".
"[My campaign] was just Garth McVicar standing for what he believed and I got a big following," he said.
"So whether people want to say that as splitting the vote and giving it to Nash or whatever, really there was no alternative, the way I see it."
With polling in the weeks leading up to the election indicating Mr McVicar had good support in the Napier seat, Prime Minister John Key was asked on the campaign trail if he would consider a deal urging National voters to support Mr McVicar.
But Mr Key and Mr McVicar ruled out the idea.
Mr McVicar said yesterday his view throughout the campaign was: "If you're going to get there, you've got to get there on your own merit."
He added: "I'm not a clever political analyst or strategist at all. I am what I am, what you see is what you get and that won't change. There might have been an opportunity to do deals but that's not the way I work," he said.
Mr Nash said his win was the result of a long, well-planned campaign and he believed Mr McVicar's late entry into the race had taken votes off both him and Mr Walford.
"What we have done is proven that if you put a good strategy in place, have a great team, raise the money, and concentrate on the issues that are important to the people who decide elections, you can win a seat back," he said on Saturday night.
The Napier electorate had traditionally been a Labour stronghold but National's Chris Tremain had held the seat, which includes Wairoa, since 2005. Mr Tremain announced last year he would retire from politics at this election.
Mr Nash, who was a Napier-based list MP from 2008 to 2011, stood as an electorate candidate in the seat in the 2011 election, but lost to Mr Tremain by 3701 votes.
Mr McVicar said he would spend the next few days deciding on his future.
He ruled out returning to his previous role as head of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, the organisation he founded 13 years ago, but said he would discuss what future role he would have with the organisation with the trust's board next month.