#AE17 North Antrim: Sinn Féin top the poll with Philip McGuigan
WHILE most of the attention at the Ballymena count centre was focused on the Mid-Ulster constituency and Michelle O’Neill her party colleagues in north Antrim also created their own bit of history.
The fairly sober count came to life when it emerged that Sinn Féin had topped the poll in the hardline unionist area.
Outgoing MLA Philip McGuigan bagged 7,600 votes to put his party top of the pile in an area dominated by the DUP.
Although no-one managed to reach the 8,280 quota, the DUP showed up well with Paul Frew leading the charge on 6,975.
Former Stormont minister Mervyn Storey raised 6,857 while Philip Logan secured 5,708.
After the first count Jim Allister was on 6,214 while the UUP’s Robin Swann weighed in with 6,022.
SDLP candidate Connor Duncan will be pleased with his return of 3,519 votes.
After three counts none of the candidates had been elected.
Mr McGuigan said he was delighted with his history making achievement.
“I am delighted, it’s a tremendous result, it’s historic in north Antrim, Sinn Féin topping the poll in what would be considered a DUP heartland,” he said.
“This was a big election, the issues at stake were big issues. The people of north Antrim understood all of that.
“This has been the most positive campaign with regard to the response which is evidenced with the votes that we got and also the most positive campaign internally within Sinn Fein.”