Election 2017: Mid Ulster has just one DUP figure standing

Sinn Fein’s political dominance in Mid Ulster continued in last year’s Assembly election after all three of its candidates were elected on the first count.

This was no surprise, given the fact that it has been a solid nationalist seat for the past two decades.

Cookstown town centre

Cookstown town centre

The big shock in this constituency last year came when the DUP’s William McCrea, a son of the former Mid Ulster and South Antrim MP Rev William McCrea, lost his seat to party colleague Keith Buchanan.

This time around however, the party is seeking to avoid splitting its vote and Mr Buchanan is standing as the sole DUP candidate on the ballot paper.

The UUP is keeping its focus on Sandra Overend, who is well established in the constituency.

She took over the seat previously held by her father Billy Armstrong - and is expected to be returned this time.

With five seats available, and the main unionist parties having enough for two quotas, its leaves just three seats for four nationalist MLAs.

Sinn Fein’s new leader in Northern Ireland, Michelle O’Neill is virtually certain to be re-elected, as is her party colleague Ian Milne, who topped the poll last May with 7,035 votes.

The SDLP’s Patsy McGlone is another safe bet. The party stalwart, who has held the seat since 2003, had the second highest total in 2016, polling 6,209 votes.

That leaves Sinn Fein’s Linda Dillon, a newcomer in last May’s election, as the most vulnerable as a result of the one-seat reduction from six to five.

2017 candidates:

• Keith Alexander Buchanan (DUP)

• Linda Dillon (Sinn Fein)

• Hannah Loughrin (TUV)

• Hugh McCloy (Independent)

• Patsy McGlone (SDLP)

• Ian Milne (Sinn Fein)

• Michelle O’Neill (Sinn Fein)

• Sandra Overend (UUP)

• Hugh Scullion (Workers Party)

• Stefan Taylor (Green)

• Fay Watson (Alliance)

2016 results:

• Ian Milne (Sinn Féin) 7,035 (17.3%)

• Patsy McGlone (SDLP) 6,209 (15.2%)

• Michelle O’Neill (Sinn Féin) 6,147 (15.1%)

• Linda Dillon (Sinn Féin) 5,833 (14.3%)

• Sandra Overend (UUP) 4,862 (11.9%)

• Ian McCrea (DUP) 3,765 (9.2%)

• Keith Buchanan (DUP) 3,628 (8.9%)

• Hanna Loughrin (TUV) 1,877 (4.6%)

• Hugh Scullion (Workers’ Party) 316 (0.8%)

• Néidín Hendron (Alliance) 471 (1.2%)

• Stefan Taylor (Green) 349 (0.9%)

• Alan Day (UKIP) 256 (0.6%)

Electorate: 70,430

Votes cast: 41,381 (58.8%)