DUP candidate Keith Buchanan is hoping unionist apathy does not lead to a reduced share of the vote for his party in the nationalist/republican stronghold of Mid Ulster.
Acknowledging the party “cannot win” the seat from Sinn Fein incumbent Francie Molloy, Mr Buchanan – who polled 9568 first preference votes in the recent Assembly election – told the News Letter: “Our last poll here in March was a good result for the DUP and for me and I’m very happy with it. How we will do tonight I don’t know.
“Unionist voters know we can’t win that seat and that could cause apathy, we hope it doesn’t. If we hit the 10,000 mark it would be good; I’m not predicting that. I just don’t know, it is as simple as that.
“It will be interesting to see if we can hold it. I will be happy if we do.”
Keith Buchanan holds the DUP’s sole Assembly seat in the constituency.
Mid Ulster was once a stronghold for the DUP, held by Rev William McCrea from 1983 until he was ousted by Martin McGuinness in 1997.
Rev McCrea’s son, Ian, finished third in the race back in 2015.
Sinn Fein veteran Mr Molloy has been the sitting MP since 2013, when Mr McGuinness resigned the seat.