Interesting byelection result from East Antrim. Andy Wilson (a Slugger alumnis), has taken a council seat for the UUP. The turnout was very low, 19.28% as opposed to 59.38% last time. But the UUP emphasises that low turnouts in the past has hurt them. Their share of the vote was marginally up to 39.11% to the DUP’s 37%. The real difference came on the second count with the UUP 856 and the DUP at 678. They managed to soak up the lion’s share of transfers.It’s a relatively small story (the seat is in a UUP heartland), but it comes at a good time for Trimble’s party. Roy Beggs, the sitting MP, is expected to face a critical fight to defend his Westminster seat next year against one the DUP’s strongest challengers, Sammy Wilson.
This result will not unduly worry Wilson’s campaigners, but the UUP will take some heart that they’ve been able to ‘stop the rot’ in their own core vote in Larne and they may have some local momentum to build upon.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty