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 said he was grateful voters had responded to his call to
change the tone of politics.
"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," he said in a statement.
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
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)
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