The DUP’s Mervyn Storey has said today has been “a wake up call for unionism” after Sinn Fein’s Philip McGuigan topped the poll in North Antrim.
Mr Storey, who is one of three DUP candidates vying for election in the traditionally unionist heartland, admitted it could be a challenge for the party to hold on to its third seat this time around.
No one has yet passed the quota here, but Mr Storey and his running mate Paul Frew are likely to cross the line.
With the sole Sinn Fein candidate also looking certain to be elected, it will be a tough battle for the last remaining seat between the UUP’s Robin Swann and DUP’s Phillip Logan.
Mr Storey told the News Letter: “I am pleased that despite all that has been thrown at the DUP since Christmas that we have been able to secure the number of votes that we have in the constituency.
“I think today has been a wake up call to unionism, the way that it fractures and divides, because when that happens we see the gap between us and Sinn Fein narrowing.”