Primary featuring Clay Aiken too close to call
Posted May 7, 2014
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Democratic congressional primary race between former "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken and textile entrepreneur Keith Crisco remained very close and without a clear winner.
Aiken and Crisco each had about 40 percent of the vote, trailed by licensed family counselor Toni Morris of Fayetteville in Tuesday's primary race in the 2nd Congressional District.
Crisco noted in a statement Wednesday that fewer than 400 votes separate him and Aiken and said he and his supporters will watch as county elections boards complete their canvassing in the coming days.
"This election is still very tight. 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,” he said. “This has been a great campaign, and I am very appreciative of my supporters and the hard work that the county boards of elections are doing at this time.”
Aiken's first political campaign drew an unusual amount of celebrity buzz, thanks to his singing career and a second-place finish on "Celebrity Apprentice." Crisco spent four years as the state's top business recruiter under former Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue.
The primary winner will challenge incumbent Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers in November. Ellmers, first elected in the 2010 tea party wave, handily defeated her challenger in the heavily Republican district.
“I am deeply grateful to the thousands of people who responded to our campaign to change the tone of politics and give the people of the Second District the representation they deserve in Washington," Aiken said in a statement. "This was a very close contest, and as we continue to count the votes, we are more and more excited about our campaign’s ability to move forward and be victorious in November.”
Aiken has said reporters are the only people asking whether being a gay man could impede his campaign to represent such a conservative district. Both he and Crisco touted themselves as centrists.
"We need to stay out of people's bedrooms," Bob Finch, a 57-year-old Democrat from Lee County, said Tuesday.