2016 election: Do not hold breath for Mid Ulster surprises

Cookstown
Cookstown

Electoral surprises are rare in Mid Ulster with the political landscape largely unchanged since the assembly elections of 1998.

Over the four Stormont polls since then, Sinn Fein have secured three seats each time, with the DUP, UUP and SDLP returning one MLA each.

Deputy first minister Martin McGuinness came out on top last time around with almost 9,000 first preference votes (21%) ahead of the DUP’s Ian McCrea with 7,127.

However, Sinn Fein has switched Mr McGuinness to the neighbouring Foyle constituency for a head-to-head battle with SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.

DARD minister Michelle O’Neill is a firm favourite to be re-elected for Sinn Fein, along with party colleagues Ian Milne and Linda Dillon.

Ulster Unionist Sandra Overend was comfortably elected with 4,409 votes in 2011 and remains the party’s sole candidate.

Likewise, the nationalist SDLP has put up one candidate - outgoing MLA Patsy McGlone.

UKIP candidate Alan Day is standing but polled only 863 votes in last year’s Westminster election. The TUV has put up public relations graduate and Orritor native Hannah Loughrin who will be seeking to improve on the 1,892 total for party colleague Gareth Ferguson last year.

See here for profiles of more election constituencies.

2016 CANDIDATES:

• Keith Buchanan (DUP)

• Alan Day (UKIP)

• Linda Dillon (Sinn Fein)

• Néidín Hendron (Alliance)

• Hannah Loughrin (TUV)

• Ian McCrea (DUP)

• Patsy McGlone (SDLP)

• Ian Milne (Sinn Fein)

• Michelle O’Neill (Sinn Fein)

• Sandra Overend (UUP)

• Hugh Scullion (Workers Party)

• Stefan Taylor (Green Party)

RESULTS OF 2011 ELECTION:

Martin McGuinness (SF) 8,957 (21%)

Ian McCrea (DUP) 7,127 (16.7%)

Michelle O’Neill (SF) 5,178 (12.1%)

Patsy McGlone (SDLP) 5,065 (11.9%)

Sandra Overend (UUP) 4,409 (10.3%)

Francie Molloy (SF) 4,263 (10%)

Ian Milne (SF) 2,635 (6.2%)

Walter Millar (TUV) 2,075 (4.9%)

Austin Kelly (SDLP) 1,214 (2.8%)

Hugh McCloy (Ind.) 933 (2.2%)

Michael McDonald (Alliance) 398 (0.9%)

Harry Hutchinson (People Before Profit Alliance) 243 (0.6%)

Gary McCann (Ind.) 241 (0.6%)