Early indications in North Down suggest, as widely predicted, that Lady Sylvia Hermon will cruise home with a comfortable majority over her nearest rival, the DUP’s Alex Easton.
Fighting the seat in 2010 as an independent for the first time after her fall out with the UUP over the Conservative pact, she was unchallenged by the DUP – who this year announced Mr Easton, an MLA for the area, as their man.
In what was seen by some as an attempt to lure her back to the UUP ranks, her former party did not put a candidate up against her, leaving Alliance’s Andrew Muir as her only other significant rival.
In this affluent and laid back constituency, Mr Muir’s term as North Down Borough Council’s first openly gay mayor attracted little or no controversy.
His involvement in the “gay marriage cake” controversy, however, along with his general inexperience, has ruled him out as a real contender this time around.
The sunshine yesterday seemed to have encouraged a healthy turnout.
For the first time there was a total of 10 candidates – but, given the results of the last few elections – there looks to be only one real contender.