It seems sensible to run occasional snippets pieces for the wee bits and pieces that might otherwise get missed:
- So we kick off with the news tonight that Alastair Ross is stepping down after ten years in the Assembly. No big mystery. As a five-seater the DUP have just over 2 quotas from May. And as clear backmarker, Ross steps out.
- Dallat of the SDLP comes back in as a runner in East Londonderry pushing his successor Gerry Mullan out. Mullan leaves Dallat 0.6 of a quota, whilst SF have 1.3: together almost two quotas for nationalism. With UUP and Alliance transfers that could make SDLP veteran competitive.
- In Upper Bann Sinn Fein are running two again, with Nuala Toman – a headquarters staffer – alongside John O’Dowd. The UUP’s Kyle Savage drops out this time, and there’s only 1.4 quota for the two UUP runners. If Dolores Kelly can grab UUP transfers, she might split the SF ticket.
- One surprise is Sammy Douglas is stepping down in East Belfast, where their three may have to reduce to two. Douglas won’t be easy to replace. Does that mean the Speaker Robin Newton is running again? Keeping three in the field and maybe squeeze the UUP out of Belfast?
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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