News

McKee’s short run

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

ULSTER Unionist candidate Harold McKee has admitted his disappointment over losing his Assembly seat after just 10 months in post.
The Kilkeel man knew as the first boxes of votes were opened that things weren't in his favour.
Early indications during the count suggested that the Alliance Party's Patrick Brown had polled extremely well at the expense of Mr McKee and that proved to be the case at stage four, as the Kilkeel man was eliminated.
His final votes tally of 4,527.76 after transfers, was not enough to get him over the mark.
Following his elimination, Mr McKee said he was "disappointed" to have lost his seat at Stormont, especially after being elected just 10 months ago, but is now planning to take a "break away" from politics.
Mr McKee had hoped to pick up some extra votes courtesy of DUP candidate Jim Wells.
However, due to the high quota and loss of one seat in the constituency he said it was "just not meant to be".
Speaking to The Outlook, Mr McKee said: "Losing my seat was something that might have happened in four years' time but because it was a snap election and the circumstances surrounding it, it happened too soon.
“There were lots of things against us and Sinn Fein had a massive push on with the election. Jim Wells had a good vote and although there was a good transfer rate between us I didn't benefit from the surplus because the quota was just too high."
Mr McKee says since losing his seat he has continuously been answering good messages from members of the public wishing him well.
He added: "Although I don't know what the future holds for me now, I enjoyed what I was doing and was interested in the community and worked for everyone.
“The office is a big loss to Kilkeel because it was widely used by people in the community looking help with issues."
Former quarry manager, Mr McKee was first elected as a UUP councillor in 2011 and again in 2014 before election as an MLA last year.
He said this election was always "going to be a close call" with someone losing out on a seat.
However, for Mr McKee it is business as usual for the next few days as he ties up issues.
“We will now have wind-up time in the office and I had a meeting organised with people and the PSNI and I hope that will go ahead. However, for now, no-one knows what happens in the future.
“I suppose if another election is called I will stand again and at this minute and time, I would be up for it."
Mr McKee thanked his election agent, Rathfriland woman Jill Macauley who he says went "above and beyond the call of duty".
He also thanked his canvassing team, his wife and acknowledged the continued support of his family and friends.
n Full coverage of South Down and Upper Bann's election shocks on pages 21-23.

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