VICTORIAN political parties are scampering to finalise their candidates for the September 14 federal election.
It follows Prime Minister Julia Gillard's shock announcement of the polling date last week.
Seats such as Bendigo, Ballarat and Corangamite are expected to be among country Victoria's most hotly contested.
The Liberals are expected to dedicate significant resources to snatching Bendigo and Ballarat from Labor.
They have already selected their candidates for Corangamite, Latrobe and McEwen.
Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach said their candidates had "real connections to their local communities" and were already "campaigning and listening to concerns of regional Victorians".
"The Liberal Party is investing significant resources into these seats to highlight the strengths of our candidates and the positive plan we have for Victoria."
Nationals state director Stuart Copeland said nominations for pre-selection for Bendigo and the Senate opened last Friday, and would close on February 14.
"We'll be looking at many other regional, Labor-held seats also," he said.
Mr Copeland said key regional election issues would include services and infrastructure improvements. "Labor does not have any ministers who live outside a capital city ... the Nationals have that regional perspective at their core, and we can deliver," he said.
Labor's Victorian assistant secretary Stephen Donnelly said his party would soon open nominations for Coalition-held seats, while its new candidate for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters, was already campaigning.
He said Labor was unfazed by Katter's Australian Party entering the Victorian fray, saying the Liberals were "more likely to suffer".
And the Greens "plan to contest every federal seat", according to a spokesman.