26 May 2022

AE22 THROWBACK: Transfers crucial in East Derry melting pot in 2017

Independent MLA Claire Sugden was the biggest beneficiary.

AE22 THROWBACK: Transfers crucial in East Derry melting pot in 2017

Caoimhe Archibald topped the poll back in 2017.

With voters set to go to the polls early next month, political analysts are fervently crunching the numbers, tracking the trends and making bold predictions.

This year, a field of 16 candidates will take their place on a lengthy East Derry ballot paper, one more than the previous election in 2017.

On that occasion, it took 12 stages to yield a result, with the first candidate to make quota – Claire Sugden – not deemed elected until the eighth count.

Sinn Féin's Caoimhe Archibald had topped the poll on the first count with 5,851 votes, with the DUP's Maurice Bradley polling in second with 5,444.

Bottom of the pile was David Harding of the Conservatives, whose 219 votes were then transferred, with Claire Sugden benefiting from the bulk of them (72).

The UUP's William McCandless (52) and Alliance's Chris McCaw (31) were the other benefactors in a second count that saw Anthony Flynn (GP) and Gavin Campbell (PBP) eliminated.

Claire Sugden is standing for re-election in 2022.

Alliance took the lion's share (278) of the transfers from this round, with the SDLP's John Dallat (115) and Claire Sugden (112) also banking three-figure hauls.

Russell Watton of the PUP was then eliminated, with 359 of his 889 votes going to the DUP's Maurice Bradley. DUP's Adrian McQuillan picked up 104, while Claire Sugden again bagged 176.

Following the elimination of the TUV's Jordan Armstrong, unionist candidates were boosted on the fifth count, with William McCandless of the UUP hoovering up 308 votes.

There were a further 295 for Maurice Bradley , 141 for Adrian McQuillan, 125 for veteran George Robinson and again, 159 for Claire Sugden.

Bradley at this stage was closest to making quota, but with Independent Gerry Mullan being eliminated, his former party colleague, the late John Dallat, netted a further 266 votes.

226 of Mullan's transfers went to Sinn Féin's Caoimhe Archibald, while Claire Sugden picked up 270, Alliance's Chris McCaw 137 and Sinn Féin's Cathal Ó hOisín 175.

McCaw was then eliminated as the count rolled into Stage 7, with Sugden immediately benefiting from 854 of the Alliance candidate's votes, bringing her within 200 of the 6769 quota.

The SDLP's John Dallat picked up an impressive 641 votes from McCaw, while 293 went to William McCandless and 133 to Caoimhe Archibald.

Finally on the eighth count, with McCandless' elimination, the 994 of his votes collected by Claire Sugden saw her cross the threshold with 7,555 and she was deemed elected.

Maurice Bradley pulled up just 30 votes short of quota on the eighth count, benefiting from 568 of the UUP candidate's transfer, while Caoimhe Archibald remained around 300 short.

1,317 transfers from Adrian McQuillan's elimination was enough to take Bradley over the line, while 2,466 to George Robinson saw both McQuillan's party colleagues deemed elected on the ninth count.

The tenth count distributed Maurice Bradley's surplus, with 2,554 non-transferable due to candidates already having been eliminated.

The 145 of Bradley's votes transferred to the SDLP's John Dallat saw him consolidate his lead on Sinn Féin's Cathal Ó hOisín, and with a further 266 from George Robinson's surplus, he pulled further ahead.

At Stage 12, 382 of Claire Sugden's surplus pushed Dallat onto a final figure of 6,091, well ahead of Ó hOisín on 5,238.

Despite picking up just ten transfers from the final three counts, Sinn Féin's Caoimhe Archibald finished ahead of Dallat on 6,330 to take the fourth seat in the constituency.

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