News

‘American Idol’ holds tight lead in Congressional race

‘American Idol’ holds tight lead in Congressional race

RUNNING:Democratic nominee Clay Aiken signs an autograph for a constituent after a campaign forum in Cary, North Carolina, April 28. Photo: Reuters/Colleen Jenkins

By Colleen Jenkins

WINSTON-SALEM N.C. (Reuters) – “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken held a narrow lead on Wednesday in his bid to become the Democratic nominee for a North Carolina congressional seat but could face a recount with a challenger who trails by fewer than 400 votes.

Aiken won 40.83 percent of the vote in the 2nd congressional district primary on Tuesday, putting him just ahead of former North Carolina commerce secretary Keith Crisco’s 39.54 percent, according to unofficial results from the state elections board.

Aiken, 35, surpassed the 40 percent of votes needed to avoid a runoff, but North Carolina law allows for a recount when the spread between the top two finishers is 1 percent or less.

Crisco, 71, said the election remained too close to call but did not signal whether he would request a recount.

“This election is still very tight,” he said. “I want the elections officials to have an opportunity to tally the votes and provide a report on their canvass activities to allow all the campaigns a chance to see the final numbers.”

Aiken’s campaign did not immediately comment on the results on Wednesday.

The entertainer’s first foray into politics brought celebrity buzz and national attention to the Democratic contest, which pitted him against Crisco, an Asheboro businessman, and Fayetteville counselor Toni Morris, 49.

Aiken, who taught special education in North Carolina before his 2003 “Idol” appearance, earned respect from voters and pundits by proving knowledgeable about policy issues. He was outspent by Crisco, who ran four television ads compared to Aiken’s one.

The primary vote tally, which included 19.63 percent for Morris, could change as provisional ballots and some additional absentee votes are counted, said state elections board spokesman Josh Lawson.

The winner will challenge U.S. Representative Renee Ellmers, the Republican incumbent who beat her primary opponent with nearly 59 percent of the vote on Tuesday. Political analysts predict a tough slog for Democrats in the conservative district they say was redrawn to favor the Republican party.

(Editing by Scott Malone and James Dalgleish)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Patriots owner Kraft takes stand in Aaron Hernandez trial

robertkraft

Patriots owner Robert Kraft took the stand in the murder trial of former star player Aaron Hernandez.

in Sports

MLB: Cubs demote Bryant, upsets union

krisbryant

Third baseman Kris Bryant was reassigned to thE minor league camp despite an outstanding spring training at the plate.

in Sports

NFL sanctions Browns, Falcons

nfl

Fake noise and illegal text messages have landed the two teams in hot water with the league.

in Sports

College hoops: AP All-America team, Wooden finalsts

kaminsky

Three players heading to the Final Four head up The Associated Press men's basketball All-America team.

in Sports

Tuesday’s Sports Minute

grizzlies

A look at some of the big sports stories making news today, Tuesday, March 31.