Sinn Féin: Michelle O’Neill. Ian Milne. Linda Dillon.
SDLP: Patsy McGlone.
DUP: Ian McCrea. Keith Buchanan.
UUP: Sandra Overend.
Alliance: Neidin Loughran.
Green: Stefan Taylor.
Workers Party: Hugh Scullion.
TUV: Hannah Loughrin.
UKIP: Alan Day.
In this constituency, there is a traditional 4:2 advantage for nationalists. The breakdown is three Sinn Féin, one SDLP, one DUP and one UUP. There will be no surprises this time. In fact, only twelve people (seven seriously) are contesting the election.
Sinn Féin are only putting up three candidates and SDLP just one candidate and all will be elected.
The story on the Sinn Féin side is that Martin McGuinness has moved to Foyle constituency. If McGuinness has a personal vote because of his high profile, then it surely follows that there would be a drop in the SF vote if he is not on the ticket. SDLP have missed a trick here as they would be the main beneficiary. But with only Patsy McGlone standing, there is no prospect to test it.
Am I saying that SDLP could gain a seat here? No…but at least SDLP should have made SF fight to retain three seats. A bad decision.
On the unionist side, DUP comfortably outvoted UUP in 2011 but UUP outvoted DUP in 2015. This can largely be attributed to the emergence of TUV and UKIP who polled respectably.
Sandra Overend is the only UUP candidate so is assured of election.
There is however an internal DUP competition for the Party’s seat. I hardly know much about DUP internal politics in Mid Ulster but there is a suggestion that Ian McCrea is not overly popular.
The main story to emerge here might be McCrea losing out to his running mate but the name recognition factor for Rev William McCrea’s son should swing it for the outgoing MLA. The internal division is unlikely to let in TUV or UKIP.
The candidates from Greens, Alliance and Workers Party might do better in percentage terms than their usual derisory vote…due largely to the lack of real competition here and the apathy that will result.
So…prediction….SF 3, SDLP 1, DUP 1, UUP 1.
Its strangely uncompetitive on the nationalist side. Almost feel as though nationalist voters aren’t getting a democratic choice – four nationalist seats and four nationalist candidates.
Its effectively an uncontested election.
Do I think that SDLP would gain a seat? …no but a second candidate would add a few votes.