Election 2017: Upper Bann could see women dominate

Drumcree near Portadown, part of Upper Bann
Drumcree near Portadown, part of Upper Bann

There is an interesting gender split within the main contest in Upper Bann.

The top seven possible MLAs wooing the electorate for the five seats consist of four females and three males, with early forecasts that the ladies could edge it 3-2.

The remaining 12 candidates are regarded as ‘make-weights’.

The DUP are giving the nod to Jonny Buckley (at 25 the youngest unionist candidate in the entire election) and Carla Lockhart, who topped the May poll; UUP are fielding the strong duo of Jo-Anne Dobson and Doug Beattie (as in 2016); Sinn Fein are putting forward John O’Dowd and new Upper Bann hopeful Nuala Toman; and the SDLP offer Dolores Kelly – who failed narrowly last time.

The ‘orange-green’ prediction is the same 3-2 as the female-male forecast, but the winners are by no means certain.

Lockhart and Buckley have a firm claim, given past results at Assembly and council level.

Beattie was the last home of the unionists in May 2016, thought to have been hindered by third UUP candidate Kyle Savage, who is absent now.

Kelly, meanwhile, is making confident noises in the nationalist camp, having pushed O’Dowd to the wire 10 months ago, and with Cat Seeley having returned to teaching.

2017 candidates:

Doug Beattie (UUP)

Jonathan Glen Buckley (DUP)

Colin Craig (Workers Party)

Jo-Anne Dobson (UUP)

Tara Doyle (Alliance)

Roy Ferguson (TUV)

Dolores Kelly (SDLP)

Simon Lee (Green)

Carla Lockhart (DUP)

Ian Nickels (Cons)

John O’Dowd (Sinn Fein)

Nuala Toman (Sinn Fein)

2016 results:

Carla Lockhart (DUP) 7,993 (17.5%)

Sydney Anderson (DUP) 6,195 (13.6%)

Catherine Seeley (Sinn Féin) 6,164 (13.5%)

John O’Dowd (Sinn Féin) 5,209 (11.4%)

Jo-Anne Dobson (UUP) 5,155 (11.3%)

Dolores Kelly (SDLP) 4,335 (9.5%)

Doug Beattie (UUP) 2,969 (6.5%)

Kyle Savage (UUP) 1,760 (3.9%)

Harry Hamilton (Alliance) 1,424 (3.1%)

Roy Ferguson (TUV) 1,177 (2.6%)

David Jones (UKIP) 1,072 (2.3%)

Martin Kelly (CISTA) 672 (1.5%)

Sophie Long (PUP) 704 (1.5%)

Simon Lee (Green) 495 (1.1%)

Emma Hutchinson (NI Labour) 250 (0.5%)

Ian Nickels (Conservatives) 79 (0.2%)

Steven McCarroll (Independent) 33 (0.1%))

Electorate: 85,204

Votes cast: 46,383 (54.4%)