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DUP's Peter Johnston wins Mid and East Antrim council by-election

New DUP councillor Peter Johnston with party leader Arlene Foster
Rebecca Black

THE DUP has gained a council seat in Co Antrim in a by-election.

Peter Johnston (28) defeated four political rivals as he took 1,106 first-preference votes to win the seat on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

A total of 2,873 votes were polled, representing a turnout of 21.8 per cent.

The Carrick Castle seat became vacant after the death of independent councillor Jim Brown in August.

Mr Johnston thanked those who voted for him.

"I will seek to repay that trust as their advocate in the council," he said.

"As a father and local businessman, I want to see Carrickfergus transformed into a town where new jobs, opportunities and investment are a norm."

DUP leader Arlene Foster said the party increased its share of the vote in the area by 11 per cent.

"This was Peter's first election but it was evident on the doorsteps that people warmed to his youth, vision and enthusiasm for the area," she said.

"It is not easy for anyone to place their name on a ballot paper but it is especially great to see young people stepping forward.

"To top the poll is a massive achievement and vote of confidence in Peter."

The seat was contested by four other candidates.

Ulster Unionist John McDermott polled 668 first-preference votes, while Alliance's Lauren Gray received 556.

Si Harvey of the Democrats and Veterans Party received 448 and independent Will Sibley polled 71 first-preferences.

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