NI Election: Curtain comes down on Danny Kennedy's Stormont tenure
DUP poll topper William Irwin said unionists in Newry and Armagh did not buy the "bad press and political attacks" his party faced.
While Mr Irwin secured a return to Stormont, UUP veteran Danny Kennedy's long tenure at Stormont came to an end.
The former deputy party leader said it is unlikely that he will remain in politics following the defeat.
Sinn Fein's Cathal Boylan, Megan Fearon and Conor Murphy were also elected, as was the SDLP's Justin McNulty.
Mr Irwin said his constituency had spoken loud and clear.
"We have had a lot of bad press from the media and been attacked by other parties across the board. My constituency spoke out loud and clear - people saw through a lot of the attacks," he said.
"I didn't get involved in the mudslinging and I fought a clean fight."
Sinn Fein's Cathal Boylan said: "The message from Sinn Fein about equality, respect and integrity has come out for us and that is the message we were giving out on the doorsteps. This is a mandate to renegotiate."