He dubbed Mr Beattie “100% a leader”.
He was speaking last night as Mr Beattie was locked in a struggle to take a seat in Upper Bann, with some indications that he may find it hard to take the fifth and final seat.
He had come in sixth place in terms of first preference votes.
With 5,199 first preference votes, he was also way behind both DUP candidates Diane Dodds and Jonathan Buckley, who got 6,548 and 8,869 respectively.
“I’ve every confidence in Doug Beattie. He’s a strong, couragueos man,” said Mr Butler.
“He is a leader, I am fully behind Doug Beattie.”
However, in the last hour or so reports are emerging that he has been victorious with the help of transfer votes, becoming the fourth MLA elected to the seat.
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