Many feel Mr. Gallagher represents Ireland's transformation in the past two decades, though supporters and opponents mean different things when they say that.
Fianna Fáil, long the dominant political party in Irish life, failed to stand a candidate, such was the likelihood of humiliation at the polls. Many see Gallagher as a proxy candidate for a party that was trounced at the general election on February 25.
The allegations linking Gallagher to Fianna Fáil, along with questions about his business and accounting practices, were aired on a televised debate Monday. There hasn't been an opinion pol since, so it's difficult to tell if he has been damaged.
"I think the [real] winners, politically, will be Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin," said David Farrell, professor of politics at University College Dublin, saying many had written Fianna Fáil off and that a victory for Mr Gallagher would be a major coup for the party.
"[The] Labor [party] will come out pretty well, too," he said.
Gay Mitchell, candidate of the main governing party, the conservative Fine Gael, is trailing badly in opinion polls, likely to come fifth, a result that some feel could damage party morale.