Judith Collins was hoping for a safe and solid campaigning day in Dunedin following the stumbles of the previous days.
But she ended up facing more questions about rumbles in her own caucus.
With nine days until voting day and the road to victory for National – though not impossible – looking increasingly steep, the timing is far from helpful.
Yesterday was also unhelpful.
There was the glasses store that gave her a thumbs down, and the "rent-a-crowd" questions about National's pre-placed supporters along the street for Collins' walkabout.
The store has since said the snub wasn't political, but that nuance was missing in the TV footage last night.
Then there was Collins saying she had no intention of stepping aside if National lost. Winning is meant to be the only possible outcome on her mind.
The leaked email critical of Collins from National MP Denise Lee. The third leaders' debate where the crowd clearly favoured Jacinda Ardern. Momentum seemed to be fading.
Today was meant to be a fresh start.
It started with a visit to a manufacturing business crying out for more specialist migrant workers; National wants more managed isolation capacity by bringing in the private sector while still focusing on safety.
There was no walkabout where she might be denied entry. Asked why not, Collins said she had indeed walked around Dunedin - without any accompanying media - and the reception was "very good, we had a lot of selfies".
Then came a preach to the choir at the Otago Chamber of Commerce with talk of farming, the tech sector and mining as ways for New Zealand to pay our way in the world.
This is portrayed by Ardern as a choice between diverging pathways on climate action, which Collins counters by saying there is no free lunch.
Dairying was worth $20b in exports, Collins said, implying that it fed straight into the Government coffers to cover the $20b-a-year health budget - which it doesn't.
"You take out the dairy farmers, you take out the money to pay for health," she told a public meeting at the Taieri College of Performing Arts.
To affirming nods and murmurs of agreement, Collins attacked Labour as the party of "love and a hug", while National was the party for "a job and hope".
Collins was in fine form, drawing laughter with clever humour, rather than crushing nastiness, and eliciting sighs of disapproval at the mere mention of the name "Phil Twyford".
But when she fronted the media, there were endless questions about National's internal polling. If the numbers are good, as Collins says, why not share them with her MPs?
"Months," one MP told the Herald when asked about the last time they saw the numbers. "Weeks" was when they were supposed to have last seen them.
That's not to say the party is in crisis mode. MPs are hunkering down to the business of winning the election, one source told the Herald.
But sharing the numbers with the caucus was something Collins said she would do when she took the helm. Not doing so has triggered enough frustration for MPs to talk to media.
"I'm not here to talk about any internal issues that you say you've got. I certainly haven't heard those," Collins said.
"I suggest if anyone has a problem in caucus, they should contact me."
The numbers showed National were "doing very well", she said.
Last week, when the National-Act bloc was up 3 percentage points, her MPs might have been happy with that answer.
Some of them don't seem to be happy with it anymore.
Whether that sentiment persists might depend on the results of tonight's 1 News Colmar Brunton poll.