May 7th, 2014
07:26 AM ET
9 years ago

Clay Aiken has slim edge in North Carolina primary

Updated 11:40a ET, 5/7/2014

(CNN) - Clay Aiken, the American-Idol star-turned congressional hopeful, holds a razor-thin margin over opponent Keith Crisco in North Carolina's Democratic primary for a U.S. House seat, but CNN and other news organizations have not yet projected a winner.

With all precincts reporting, Aiken has 40.83% of the vote, with Crisco following slightly behind at 39.4%. If the margin holds up, Aiken would exceed the 40% threshold needed to avoid a runoff.

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While only 369 votes separate them, Aiken's tiny advantage is still outside the 1% margin to stave off a recount.

Clay Aiken's star power put to the test in North Carolina

Crisco said in a statement Wednesday that he'll wait until after officials “tally the votes and provide a report on their canvass activities" on Thursday, before his campaign will make any decisions, such as conceding or asking for a recount.

Aiken, however, felt optimistic that the final number will result in his favor.

"I said earlier tonight, I sort of preferred when they just open the envelope," Aiken said addressing supporters Tuesday – a reference to his days on the "American Idol" stage.

"I am very confident that we are going to be victorious in November as well. We are going to bring this to Washington."

Toni Morris, the third candidate in the race, has 18.63% of the vote.

The primary winner will go on to face incumbent Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers in November's general election.

Ellmers, a tea party favorite who's held the seat for two terms, also bested a primary challenger from the right, conservative talk-radio host Frank Roche - and avoided a costly runoff.

Despite Aiken's wide name recognition, he'll still fight an uphill battle to unseat the Republican incumbent.

CNN: Key races to watch in 2014

North Carolina's second district, which spans the central and eastern parts of the state, isn't friendly territory for a Democrat, especially considering President Barack Obama's ailing approval ratings and continued backlash over his health care law.

Republican Mitt Romney won nearly 60% of the district's vote in the 2012 presidential election.

GOP establishment 1, tea party 0 after North Carolina Senate primary

Aiken gained national attention when he came in second to Ruben Studdard in the second season of American Idol in 2003. Studdard endorsed Aiken in a radio ad aired in the days before the election.

CNN's Dana Davidsen and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2014 • Congress • House • North Carolina
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    NC is turning democratic. GOP is pretty much gone to dogs with ruthless War ideology. Every one hate this current governor.

    May 7, 2014 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  2. king

    i hope we can get as much dems in congress as possible, if repubs takes the senate, there is no way they will help the country move forward, not with Hillary presidency around the corner. we have seen for 5 years now that the repubs give a flying crap about the american people, everything they do is to get back into power. they will resume the cutting of money from the economy pushing it to a small percent of rich folks, leaving the economy and its infrastructure in worst and worst shape. those small percent of Americans who now sees that the country is being gutted by the repubs, they will continue investing in china and India to get more profits. the repubs have learned that obstruction and trying like hell to derail our economy recovery, is a good thing politically because they are being rewarded politically the worst they behave. the american people are the culprits and in the next 2 years, america will be surpassed by china, india, and a whole lot more countries in power, because the repubs have obstruct this government into backwardness. other countries government have gone head first in helping their economies, while the repubs are fighting like hell to cut the government out of the equation where the economy is concerned, instead pushing money to the uber rich, and watch our infrastructure turns into a third world country, because the rich is not investing into a country that going back to the stone age and not focus in countries like china who are going into the 21st century with a bang.

    May 7, 2014 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  3. Solomon Walker

    Singers are skilled at law, aren't they.

    May 7, 2014 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  4. Take Me To The River....

    Well done, Clay... well spoken, thoughtful, polite, classy and fighting for a good cause (a fair and balanced society).... give this man credit–he's walking the walk while the rest of us read CNN and watch TV....he could have easily retired on recording credits..instead he's entering public service...and while his muisc didn't always speak to me (although admittedly very talented) his candor, honesty and intelligence do (very much)....Keep on rolling, Clay .

    May 7, 2014 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  5. Beth

    I really hope Clay wins. The way I see it, while congress is still one big mess, Clay can sing us a song.

    May 7, 2014 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  6. Dom

    What makes this guy qualified to be in congress?

    May 7, 2014 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Clay Aiken? Never heard of him. His name makes him sound like a country and western singer.

    May 7, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  8. Margaret Swindells

    Is this a joke?

    May 7, 2014 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  9. mike

    i think republicans have elections fixed.

    May 7, 2014 08:53 am at 8:53 am |

    Dont vote this dem into nothing ! He couldnt even lead the funny farm on fun day . He dont have a chance got to be a bad joke ?

    May 7, 2014 08:55 am at 8:55 am |