Stunningly good vote management from Sinn Fein in West Belfast.
Gerry Adams SF6,029 17.8 Elected 1
Sue Ramsey SF 4,715 14.0
Paul Maskey SF 4,368 12.9
Jennifer McCann SF 4,265 12.6
Fra McCann SF 4,254 12.6
Diane Dodds DUP 3,661 10.8
Alex Attwood SDLP 3,036 9.0
That looked like a big ask beforehand, but it is clear the Shinners put the work in to their three men and two women safely in, before (it would seem) setting off to other places to help their more vulnerable MLAs out. Alex Maskey is still likely to have sweat things out before this is over.
There are some rumblings in Loyalist west. Although Diane Dodds managed to raise an extra 1,000 votes, not everyone in the unionist end of the constituency supported her. She is scrambling in a much smaller pool than Alex Attwood, who has slipped even further from the last time out. Sinn Fein’s courting of SDLP voters appears to have paid off handsomely.
How long can the SDLP continue to hold any seat in this constituency?
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