Local News

Black Race Likely Headed For Recount

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Embattled House Speaker Jim Black led Republican challenger Hal Jordan by a mere 7 votes late Tuesday, with only provisional ballots still to be counted.

Black has come under intense scrutiny and criticism in recent months for campaign-finance violations and his ties to former lottery commissioner Kevin Geddings and former aide Meredith Norris, both of whom have been convicted -- Geddings on fraud charges and Norris on a lobbying violation -- in connection with the effort to launch a state-run lottery.

Former state Rep. Michael Decker also recently called Black a "co-conspirator" in a 3-year-old bribery scheme.

Decker has admitted accepting $50,000 in 2003 to switch from the Republican to the Democratic party. The move helped Black retain a share of the speakership in an evenly divided House that year.

Black hasn't been charged with any crime, and he denied Decker's allegation.

Jordan, an IBM Corp. computer consultant, made the campaign finance and criminal proceedings surrounding Black the focus of his campaign.

The razor-thin margin between the two candidates almost ensures one side will demand a recount after the provision ballots are included in the totals.

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