A string of Labour Party big guns have backed Marie Rimmer to succeed Shaun Woodward as the MP for St Helens South and Whiston.
But the final shortlist of candidates will not be finalised for several weeks.
Coun Rimmer, the former leader of St Helens Council, has already thrown her hat in the ring - and is being backed by many to become St Helens’ first female MP.
Mr Woodward said: “Marie Rimmer is the great champion for St Helens. No-one knows the town better. Marie’s experience of St Helens is without rival. No-one will work and fight harder for everyone who lives and works in St Helens.
“Working with Marie has been a privilege and I believe no one is better qualified. Marie’s experience means that from Day One, she is ready to serve the town as best as the town could hope for. With Marie’s commitment, dedication and experience, I know she will serve St Helens with distinction and achieve what is now needed.”
Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Margaret Hodge MP described Coun Rimmer as “just the sort of woman we need in Parliament”.
She said: “Marie is a natural fighter, full of integrity offering great experience and completely rooted in St Helens.”
Ex-Liverpool MP Jane Kennedy, now Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, described Coun Rimmer as “one of the most important and influential women” in the region and “a source of inspiration”.
While former Whiston MP Eddie O’Hara said: “Marie Rimmer has strong powers of clear and strategic vision and leadership combined with energy and stamina in implementing her policies. She leads from the front and is motivated by a strong commitment to the service of her local community.
“Her personal qualities include honesty, integrity, generosity, responsibility and compassion for those in need. She is quite simply the best person for the job.”
Liverpool MP Maria Eagle added: “Marie Rimmer has long been a doughty fighter for Merseyside, who, alongside colleagues, fought to bring European monies into our region. Marie is a great campaigner.”
A 10-strong selection panel has already been appointed but the formal application process is not likely to begin until February 18.
Among the likely front-runners to take on Coun Rimmer is Southwark councillor and former Labour Party special advisor Catherine McDonald.
The party is likely to vote in its chosen candidate in April.