DUP: Robin Newton. Sammy Douglas. Joanne Bunting.
Alliance: Naomi Long. Chris Lyttle. Tim Morrow.
UUP: Chris McGimpsey. Andy Allen.
Green: Ross Brown.
SDLP: Amy Doherty.
Sinn Féin: Niall Ó Donghaille.
TUV: Andrew Girvin.
Labour Representaion: Erskine Holmes.
Labour Cross Community: Courtney Robinson.
Conservative: Neil Wilson.
PUP: John Kyle.
Independent: Maggie Hutton.
The first post-Peter Robinson Assembly Election in East Belfast. Gavin Robinson’s Westminster victory over Naomi Long was more comfortable than I thought it would be, despite the efforts of some like Slugger O’Toole to turn it into a two-horse race…so I dont see this upcoming election as a big showdown between DUP and Alliance.
The DUP used to have Peter Robinson and Sammy Wilson so their slate of three candidates looks weak…Newton and Douglas are outgoing MLAs and Joanne Bunting replaces Peter Robinson.
The 2015 DUP vote included votes borrowed from UUP, TUV, PUP to “stop Naomi” so I dont se DUP as coming close to the 44% that the Party had in 2011. The vote for the PUP/TUV will likely be about 12% and that will be significant.
Outgoing Alliance MLA, Judith Cochrane is not standing….what will she do next? Obviously Naomi Long had to be facilitated but Alliance seem to think they can win three seats…with Chris Lyttle and Tim Morrow (Alliance Royalty). I cant see it. The votes borrowed in 2015…UUP again, SDLP and Green will go back home.
UUP have two candidates…outgoing wounded British soldier Andy Allen (co-opted by Nesbitt) and the better known Chris McGimpsey. They have a safe seat.
Green Ross Brown took a council seat in 2014 and the Greens have talked up his chances since then. But a lot of hot air has been blown out since then but in fairness, he was squeezed in 2015…he probably suffered most from being excluded from the “Slugger Debate”.
Sinn Féin will get its own vote out.
SDLP have Amy Doherty, a member of SDLP Youth. The vote has been squeezed to rock bottom in recent years so as well as fulfilling a duty to the electorate, the aim is to make the vote here respectable…initially in the region of 400 votes.
Prediction….DUP 2, Alliance 2, UUP 1, TUV 1.