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East Antrim

By Noel McAdam

History shows that unionists tend not to vote tactically in large quantities.

But should there prove to be sufficient numbers seeking to punish the DUP in relation to recent events like the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme the fall-out in this constituency could potentially see them losing a seat here. But who would benefit?

The DUP’s David Hilditch and Gordon Lyons appear to be in pole position to retain their seats but a question mark hangs over newcomer Stephen Ross, the party’s third candidate.

UKIP, however, sees its best chance of replacing former NI leader David McNarry in the Assembly with Noel Jordan who performed well last May and came close to ousting the veteran Sinn Fein standard-bearer Oliver McMullan.

But either he, or McMullan, could be squeezed out in the battle for the fifth seat. Alliance stalwart Stewart Dickson looks safe if transfers from his running mate, Danny Donnelly, run smooth.

For the Ulster Unionists Roy Beggs seems all but certain to be returned to the Assembly but the question is whether the extent of antipathy towards the DUP could bring home his running mate John Stewart, who had a try-out at the polls last May.

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