A constituency comprising Antrim Town and other areas like Ballyclare, stretching to North Belfast at Glengormley.
South Antrim: Currently five MLAs: DUP (2) UUP (1). Alliance (1) Sinn Féin (1)
Friday 29th April. Antrim Town. The first surprise was the large SDLP billboard at the Railway/Bus station. The billboard contrasts a monochrome Jeffrey Donaldson and Trevor Clarke with colourful Colum Eastwood and Roisín Lynch. Seemingly Clarke does not like the billboard as it draws attention to his..er…record.
The second surprise is the number of nationalist SDLP, Sinn Féin and Aontú posters around the town.
The spreadsheet shows Assembly 2017 and Westminster 2019 results. For the benefit of folks in USA, it is important to understand that Assembly is decided in eighteen constituencies where having a quota of votes is required to win one of five seats. And Westminster is decided on a simple “first past the post” vote. I also include the runners and riders for 2022.
The Quota will be around 7,000
Trevor Clarke was a MLA who lost his seat in 2017 and co-opted when Paul Girvan went to Westminster in 2019. He attracted some adverse publicity and SDLP seem to be targeting him. There is a billboard at Antrim Train/Bus station which compares He and Jeffrey Donaldson unfavourably with Colum Eastwood and Roisín Lynch.
Clarke has been allocated the Antrim area and “Glam Pam” Cameron the rest of the constituency.
Former UUP Leader and ex-British Navy officer, “Submarine” Steve Aiken is a sitting MLA. Paul Michael, a newcomer has been allocated the Antrim area.
Danny Kinahan’s 12,000 votes in Westminster 2019 is a respectable vote but boosted by tactical voting. It would be a major coup if UUP took a second seat here.
There is certainly a republican/nationalist seat in South Antrim. And Declan Kearney and Sinn Féin would be favourite.
John Blair is interesting. He replaced David Ford who retired in 2018. Ford only secured 5,000 votes in 2017 and Blair did well to get 8,000 at Westminster 2019. This despite losing tactical votes to Danny Kinahan.
This not only suggests a comfortable quota but possibly transfers.
The SDLP are putting in a lot of effort here. But they need a perfect storm. A good first preference vote and transfers and getting some traction from “Clarke or Lynch”.
TUV did not stand in 2019, backing Paul Girvan of DUP against Danny Kinahan so the true strength is not easy to determine. Probably at least 2,500
Roisin Bennett could be the kingmaker here. Initially taking votes from Sinn Féin and SDLP and maybe trickling back as transfers.
Likewise Jerry Maguire People Before Profit. His second preference votes will be more interesting than first preferences.
Lesley Veronica. Unlikely to make an impact except for transfers.
Andrew Moran is an Independent and wont really count.
None as such. But the unionist infighting might well allow someone under the radar. A long count.