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)

News

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Oct. 23

Fresh
strait

A look at the Hollywood headlines that went down in history.

in National

Ebola czar starts work, drugmakers launch vaccine drive

ebola

The Obama administration is ramping up its response to the potential spread of the virus.

in National, World

Canadian parliament attacked, soldier fatally shot

canadashooting

A gunman shot a soldier and then entered the country's parliament buildings, with at least 30 shots fired in dramatic scenes in the heart of the Canadian capital.

in National

U.S. farmers battling bugs

harvest

With record harvests depressing prices, farmers are using chemicals that protect stored grain from critters.

in Entertainment

Oprah, Neil Patrick Harris among year’s most ‘fascinating’

FILE - This Sept. 20, 2009 file photo shows host Neil Patrick Harris during the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Harris will host the Emmys again. CBS will air the Emmycast live from Los Angeles on Sept. 22. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, file)

Barbara Walters is back with her annual TV special.