East Derry is a constituency which includes Coleraine, Limavady, Dungiven,and some coastal towns. Traditionally unionist but with a large Catholic minority and a university (UUC) at Coleraine.
East Derry..Currently there are five MLAs…DUP (2) SDLP (1) Sinn Féin (1)). Independent Unionist (1)
On Monday, I was in Coleraine. Actually a lot of evidence of the election.
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 is likely to be around 7,000 votes.
DUP have two MLAs. The candidates this time are Maurice Bradley and Alan Robinson, whose father is an outgoing MLA. Neither are well known outside the constituency so at least one will be vulnerable to a swing against DUP.
Darryl Wilson. The UUP lost its quota here after internal dispute when David McClarty who left the party in 2011 and died in 2014. He nominated his staffer Claire Sugden to succeed him and she has been in the Assembly since.
Claire Sugden, former staffer of David McClarty who has been in Assembly since 2014. She has served as Minister for Justice from 2016 to 2017. All Independents have a shelf life and I expect Claire Sugden will find votes drifting away from her to UUP and Alliance.
Jordan Armstrong’s second successive Assembly election and likely to take some votes from DUP.
Caoimhe Archibald is an outgoing MLA and Kathleen McGurk is a newcomer. Sinn Féin have more than one quota.
Cara Hunter stood in the 2019 Westminster election. And surprisingly came second. In 2020, she was seconded to replace John Dallat who had died. This caused some local resentment. In recent years, the local party has bee n having too many disputes. Will it cost the SDLP a seat? Cara was the victim of sectarian abuse during the campaign.
No meaningful track record for the Greens in East Derry so Mark Coulson will do well to get 1,000 votes.
Peopl Before Profit stood in 2017 and Amy Merron will be hoping for 1,000 votes.
Ah the one to watch. McCaw turned 2,000 votes in 2017 into 6,000 in 2019. On his side Alliance will have momentum.
But this is a field with sixteen candidates.
Gemma Brolly an Irish language teacher. Aontú have been under-estimated in this election. This is one of their heartlands.
For the second successive Assembly election, a split in the SDLP.
In 2017, Gerry Mullan was de-selected and stood as an Independent. It nearly cost the SDLP candidate John Dallat a seat.
Stephanie Quigley stood for SDLP in 2017 Westminster election and I would have assumed natural successor to John Dallat’s seat.
She did not stand in the 2019 Westminster election and Cara Hunter performed well, taking second place. This handed pole position to Cara who was then co-opted for Stormont.
Russell Watton PUP. Scored almost 1,000 votes in 2017. Probably less this time.
Billy Stewart no impact.
Niall Murphy will not make an impact.
No but a very long count. I am not a regular visitor to Coleraine but I was at a funeral in the Catholic church some years ago and discovered there is a small nationalist housing estate across the River Bann from the town centre.
Actually it is quite a lot bigger and more assertive than I recall.