Candidates declare for South Antrim

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As the Assembly election draws near, political parties have been selecting candidates to compete for votes from the South Antrim public.

All six outgoing MLAs, who were elected to Stormont in May 2016, are set to contest the upcoming election on Thursday, March 2.

The outgoing Members of the Legislative Assembly are Alliance’s David Ford, DUP representatives Paul Girvan, Pam Cameron and Trevor Clarke, Sinn Fein’s Declan Kearney and UUP representative Steve Aiken.

Paul Girvan topped the polls last year, with 5,014 first preference votes. The Sinn Fein National Chairperson, Declan Kearney, gained 4,632 first preference votes. Pam Cameron secured 4,589 first preference votes, while 3,585 people gave her party colleague, Trevor Clarke, their first preference vote.

Ulster Unionist Party representative, Steve Aiken, secured 3,280 first preference votes and former Alliance Party leader, David Ford had 3,119 first preference votes cast in his favour.

At the time of going to press, seven other candidates have put their name’s forward to contest the election.

The SDLP have selected Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council councillor Roisin Lynch. Cllr Lynch narrowly missed out on being elected in the Assembly election of May 2016, having secured 3,366 first preference votes.

The UUP will field two candidates. Alongside Steve Aiken, Adrian Cochrane Watson will also campaign on a UUP ticket. Mr Cochrane-Watson secured 1,947 first preference votes in last year’s Stormont election.

Traditional Unionist Voice have again selected Richard Cairns to contest the election for South Antrim. Last year, the Antrim man missed out on a seat at Stormont, having gained 1,318 first preference votes.

Independent candidate, David McMaster, will again attempt to secure an Assembly seat. The Ballyclare man secured 483 first preference votes in the 2016 Stormont election.

The Green Party NI are fielding Eleanor Bailey in this year’s election. Last year, Helen Farley contested South Antrim, securing 589 first preference votes.

The NI Conservatives will again be fielding a candidate in the constituency. Mark Logan has been selected to contest next month’s election on behalf of the party. Last year, the party fielded Mark Young. Mr Young secured 72 first preference votes.

People Before Profit will be fielding a candidate in the constituency for the first time. Ivanka Antova has been selected to stand in the election.