One to watch: Can TUV leader Jim Allister top poll in DUP heartland?

Profile: A constituency that was the electoral springboard and stronghold for DUP founder and leader Ian Paisley.

One of the most solidly unionist constituencies in Northern Ireland, it is a key battleground in the inter-unionist feud, with the DUP facing high-profile challengers to its right and left.

Two DUP MLAs, Mervyn Storey and Paul Frew, are seeking re-election. The party failing to hold their seats would be one of the biggest upsets in its history.

Former senior DUP member Jim Allister, now one of its fiercest critics as leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice, is also seeking re-election, and he has a running mate. He will hope his high-profile campaign against the Northern Ireland Protocol will attract votes from his former political family.

Ulster Unionist Robin Swann, who has won many plaudits for his performance as health minister throughout the pandemic, is tipped by many to top the poll this time around and he also has a running mate the party hopes will prove popular for transfers.

The contest pitches him against one of his biggest critics on Covid restrictions as DUP candidate Paul Frew was a vociferous opponent.

Sinn Féin's Philip McGuigan, who topped the poll for individual first preferences in 2017, is also seeking re-election and failure to secure the seat again would be a major surprise.

The centre ground Alliance Party is targeting a breakthrough based on its performance in the British General Election in 2019 when it stunned opponents by securing 14% of the vote in the constituency.

Patricia O'Lynn is aiming to be the first woman ever to represent North Antrim in the Stormont Assembly, as well as the first member of Alliance. If she succeeds, it will be a very bad day for one of the five men seeking re-election.

2017 result: 1 SF, 1 UUP, 2 DUP, 1 TUV

2017 First preference share:
DUP 40.6%
TUV 16.0%
Sinn Fein 15.8%
UUP 12.5%
SDLP 7.3%
Alliance 5.4%

Seats Available: 5

Number of candidates: 11


Jim Allister, TUV

Matthew Armstrong, TUV

Bethany Ferris, UUP

Paul Frew, DUP

Philip McGuigan, Sinn Féin

Patricia O'Lynn, Alliance Party

Eugene Reid, SDLP

Laird Shingleton, Independent

Mervyn Storey, DUP

Robin Swann, UUP

Paul Veronica, Green Party (NI)