Karen McKevitt moves to Newry and Armagh for the next election.

In a slight shock the current MLA for South Down Karen McKevitt has been selected along with Justin McNulty to run for the SDLP in the upcoming Assembly election.

Ms McKevitt has been an MLA since 2011 and this move is to attempt to get two seats for the party in the constituency which would come at the expense of Sinn Fein.

It will be interesting to see what happens here, Sinn Fein’s Mickey Brady did not suffer the loss in support that some pundits had projected with the departure of Conor Murphy from the seat, but then again Murphy being on the ticket could hurt, if he takes too many first prefs.


, , ,

  • Surveyor

    Well according to the MLA search function on the NI Assembly website they don’t. Dominic Bradley is the solo current incumbent and he’s retiring at the next election.

  • mjh

    This constituency has stood above the tides that have flowed in nationalist politics in the last 15 years.

    While elsewhere support for the SDLP has dropped from 17% in 2003 to under 14% at recent elections, and SF has risen from 23.5% to 27.4% in 2011 (dropping back to between 24% and 25.5% more recently), in Newry and Armagh nothing has changed.

    In 2003 the SDLP took 1.72 of a quota with three candidates, in 2011 they were still on 1.65 – although now without the third candidate’s personal vote. Meanwhile SF had only moved from 2.79 to 2.86.

    The recent Westminster election confirmed this stasis. The SDLP vote share being equivalent to 1.67 Assembly quotas, and SF’s to 2.85.

    To take a second seat the SDLP need to capture only a little over 300 votes from SF. Their immunity locally to the party’s decline argues that this is possible. The immobility of the voters shows just how difficult a task that could be.

  • Nevin

    ” in Newry and Armagh nothing has changed [in the past 15 years].”

    Westminster election [boundary changes]:
    2001 SDLP 37.4%; SF 30.9%
    2015 SDLP 24.1%; SF 41.1%

  • mjh

    Fair point, Nevin.
    The June 2001 election was Seamus Mallon’s last, and it prolonged the SDLP’s majority share within nationalism into this century in N&A for Westminster. But of course that disappeared when he retired – and the constituency fell into line with the general trend in nationalism up to that point.

    By 2003 the Assembly elections were already without Mallon and the relative shares between the two parties we see today had emerged.

    The constituency is unusual in that the SDLP and SF are still within a gnat’s whisker of the shares they held back in 2003. That is remarkable.