Raleigh, N.C. — The political consultant who helped direct Republican Renee Ellmers' bid for Congress says national Republican officials misled the public about an online video involving Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge.
Carter Wrenn said the National Republican Congressional Committee was behind the video showing Etheridge confronting a man on a Washington, D.C., sidewalk. He grabbed the man's arm and then his neck while the man refused Etheridge's repeated demands to identify himself as he and another man videotaped Etheridge and asked if he supported "the Obama agenda."
Etheridge immediately apologized for the incident, but the popularity of the video online raised Ellmers' profile.
The NRCC initially denied knowing the identities of the two men. Wrenn said he criticized the group for the ploy, and they have since declined to assist Ellmers' campaign.
According to unofficial totals, Ellmers leads Etheridge by 1,646 votes. Election workers began verifying and counting provisional ballots on Friday and are expected to certify the results on Nov. 12.
Etheridge has asked for a recount if he is trailing in the final tally.
State law allows for recounts when the difference between the candidates is less than 1 percent of the total votes cast. With more than 188,000 votes cast in the Second District, any difference of less than 1,880 votes would be eligible for a recount.