Exclusive: SDLP’s Karen McKevitt will not contest next Assembly election

Whatever is going on in the undergrowth of wider party Slugger hears an interesting whisper from South Down, where we understand that sitting SDLP MLA Karen McKevitt has made it known she will not be seeking re-election in the next Assembly election.

It’s thought that the daughter of former SDLP MLA PJ Bradley, Sinead, will stand in her stead.

It’s also considered likely that Downpatrick based (and former shortlisted Slugger Awardee) Colin McGrath will stand in the north of the constituency alongside Bradley and Kilkeel based Sean Rogers, who replaced Margaret Ritchie when she left for Westminster.

Without some heavy momentum it is hard to believe there’s three seats here for the SDLP. Bradley will benefit from having the south of the constituency to herself, and what remains of her father PJ’s local machine.

McGrath has the north end (Downpatrick/Dromore) to himself, but as a non incumbent will have to scrum hard to get ahead of one of the other two. The competition (and the possibility of generational renewal) ought to sharpen the party’s overall performance here.

UPDATE: My interview on Q Radio in Newry with Kevin McAllister this morning:

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  • Dan

    Nice of her to waste public money opening a new constituency office then…..

  • mickfealty

    Well, there’s a much larger and more legitimate question about just who constituency offices actually benefit. I don’t think this one will go to waste.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I don’t think seat three can be ruled out, and even if it’s not won the SDLP is well above the second quota not to risk trying. The SDLP’s 42% vote is just at the cusp of a third quota albeit with Ritchie’s personal vote and the anyone but Sinn Féin loans. Sure enough Sinn Féin with a lower vote will do the same and put up three as well.

    Ritchie and McKevitt not being in the contest might not be so much of a disadvantage as the SDLP were able to bring in two completely new MLA’s in Foyle without Mark Durkan or Mary Bradley.

    If any nationalist surplus is left for a unionist I’d imagine John McCallister would be top of the list even more so than the Alliance Party, and if he goes out the UUP might do better over Jim Wells (or his replacement) and Henry Reilly. The UUP usurped the DUP at Westminster with no real competition or involvement from John McCallister. John managing even a mere 1000 or 2000 votes, with UUP holding 4000 would radically shift the vectors.

    It might get interesting if the Henry Reilly-UKIP tiff costs him votes, he helped bring McCallister and Wells over the line, that might put the DUP in trouble from the Ulster Unionists and possibly John McCallister.

    If the SDLP don’t gain the third seat a John McCallister gain from the DUP is not completely out of the question you would think.

  • Dan

    Nothing that a citizens advice centre wouldn’t do, without the politics attached.

  • Gaygael

    here is Sinead under her married name.
    Nice.

  • mickfealty

    Yep, I agree. There’s nothing like it outside the pampered realms of NI. Just not sure why you’re picking Karen out from the rest of the in crowd?

  • Ernekid

    Oh dear. So much for the SDLP LGBT strategy.

  • Dan

    well, you made her the subject of this ‘exclusive’.

  • mickfealty

    Okay, let’s leave it there…

  • OneNI

    Who?

  • murdockp

    did karen actually do anything? seems to me she did her term, collected a salary and bagged a pension and is handing the reins over to a Christian fundamentalist who does not respect gay people. just what our society needs more lunatics in the mad house.

  • Thomas Girvan

    Never heard of her.
    Another waste of taxpayers’ money.
    Goodbye, it is just a pity someone else will take her seat on the gravy train.