Election battlegrounds #LE19 : Portadown

Portadown is a 6 seater that returned 2 DUP, 2 UUP, 1 SF and 1 UKIP in 2014.

The DUP had 2.3 quotas, the UUP 1.3, SF 1.1, the SDLP  0.6 of a quota, UKIP and TUV about half a quota each.

In total the Unionist parties have about 5 quotas and nationalists  about 1.8 so there is certainly potential for a nationalist gain here.

Portadown Orangeman David Jones was elected on the UKIP label in 2014 and is now standing as an Independent. He resigned from the party last year after he heard ‘third hand’ that Nigel Farage was speaking at a DUP event in Ballymena. His former party are standing David Jameson against him and the division in this vote will be something that will please the DUP who are eyeing up a third seat here potentially at his expense.

When the third DUP candidate Terry McWilliams was eliminated in 2014 he was 350 votes behind Jones. The 3 DUP runners polled in first preferences 1,738, 954 and 753 respectively. Better balancing between their candidates this week (Sydney Anderson, Darryn Causby and Lavelle McIlwrath) will be an important factor in any gain made here.

The second UUP seat is not safe either. Doug Beattie and Arnold Hatch were within 140 votes of each other in 2014 and if they can maintain that voting discipline it will help their chances. Beattie is not standing obviously due to his election to the Assembly and Hatch is being joined on the ticket this time by Julie Flaherty.

Darrin Foster is running for the TUV and the PUP are not running this time,

If Sinn Féin balance well they could claim a second seat for nationalists here. The trick will be not only staying ahead of the fifth unionist but also keeping ahead of a more transfer friendly SDLP as the latter counts get underway. They are running a father-son team of sitting councillor Paul Duffy and son Callum Ó Dufaigh who at 18 is the youngest of all the Sinn Féin local government candidates.

The SDLP are running Eamon McNeill a former Armagh City councillor. He will benefit from the Alliance transfers once their candidate Emma Hutchinson is eliminated. He really needs a perfect storm of bad balancing by Sinn Féin, no drop in the SDLP vote (0.6 quota in 2014) and a favourable order of elimination to be in with a shout.

The certs are 2 DUP 1 SF and 1 UUP. The last two are a toss-up between the 3rd DUP runner, the 2nd Sinn Féin, the UUP’s 2nd and David Jones.