Election 2017: North Antrim will see DUP battle to retain third seat

The DUP will be hoping to maintain its firm grip on North Antrim, though it could be facing a tough battle to hold on to its third seat.

A DUP heartland, North Antrim has been associated with the party’s former leader Dr Ian Paisley for decades.

Ballymena town centre

Ballymena town centre

In a break from the last two Assembly elections, the party has decided to field three candidates rather than four.

The DUP’s Paul Frew topped the poll here last year, and he is likely to sail through once again along with party colleague Mervyn Storey.

TUV leader Jim Allister is also a certainty to retain his seat, having been first to pass the quota last May.

Nationalist hopes of success in North Antrim are likely to rest on the shoulders of Sinn Féin’s Philip McGuigan, who replaced Daithi McKay following his resignation last summer.

Giants Causeway

Giants Causeway

The burning question in North Antrim is which party will grab the fifth and final seat.

Due to the reduced number of seats available in Stormont, either Ulster Unionist Robin Swann or the DUP’s Phillip Logan look the most vulnerable to lose their seat in this constituency.

However, the TUV’s Timothy Gaston and SDLP’s Connor Duncan will be hoping to gain a seat at the expense of a unionist candidate.

2017 candidates:

• Jim Allister (TUV)

• Mark Francis Bailey (Greens)

• Monica Digney (Independent)

• Connor Duncan (SDLP)

• Paul Frew (DUP)

• Timothy Gaston (TUV)

• Phillip Logan (DUP)

• Adam McBride (Independent)

• Philip McGuigan (Sinn Fein)

• Patricia O’Lynn (Alliance)

• Mervyn Storey (DUP)

• Robin Swann (UUP)

2016 results:

• Paul Frew (DUP) 5,429 (13.2%)

• Jim Allister (TUV) 5,399 (13.2%)

• Mervyn Storey (DUP) 5,382 (13.1%)

• Daithi McKay (Sinn Féin) 5,297 (12.9%)

• Phillip Logan (DUP) 3,635 (8.9%)

• Robin Swann (UUP) 3,585 (8.7%)

• Connor Duncan (SDLP) 3,093 (7.5%)

• David McIlveen (DUP) 3,209 (7.8%)

• Timothy Gaston (TUV) 1,955 (4.8%)

• Stephen McFarland (Alliance) 1,318 (3.2%)

• Donna Anderson (UKIP) 1,027 (2.5%)

• Andrew Wright (UUP) 821 (2.0%)

• Jennifer Breslin (Green) 513 (1.3%)

• Kathryn Johnston (NI Labour) 243 (0.6%)

• James Simpson (Conservatives) 92 (0.2%)

Electorate 78,337

Votes cast: 41,464 (52.9%)