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Congressional race between Aiken, Crisco not yet settled

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Voters in the May 6 primary put House Speaker Thom Tillis against Sen. Kay Hagan in November's Senate race but there is no clear cut winner in the 2nd Congressional District yet.

The race between Clay Aiken and Keith Crisco for the Democratic nomination for the 2nd Congressional District might not be settled for a few more days.

Aiken holds a slim 369 vote lead despite Crisco outspending the “American Idol” runner up by a wide margin in both TV and print.

The two candidates will only go into a runoff election once 100 percent of the precincts report and no one has more than 40 percent of the vote.

Josh Lawson with the North Carolina State Board of Elections said he expects some outstanding ballots, like military absentee ballots, to come in.

The state board of elections will have every vote in hand by Tuesday.

“We’ll have county canvass on Tuesday, May 13,” Lawson said. “Then we’ll know precisely what counties say happened on election day.”

The Crisco camp again said it will wait for the canvass to be completed before taking its next step forward. Crisco can only call for a recount once all votes are certified and the difference between candidates is no more than one percent.

Lawson said recounts often do not change the initial tally of votes.

“Historically, we’ve had very accurate first counts and recounts often only change the total by a very small fraction,” he said.

The winner of the Democratic nomination will face Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers in November.

The 2nd Congressional District is strongly Republican and Ellmers has a lot of funds for a campaign.

Peace University political science professor Dave McLennan said Aiken has a lot of baggage that Ellmers could exploit.

“Aiken is going to have a difficult time because he has no political experience.  He has his entertainment background and other issues that he’ll bring to a very conservative district,” McLennan said.

He said money will be vital to Aiken if he gets the Democratic nomination. McLennan said challengers usually must outspend incumbents two to one in order to have a realistic chance to unseat them.

The Senate race between Sen. Kay Hagan and House Speaker Thom Tillis could shape up to be one of the most watched and most expensive races in the country, according to experts.

Both sides of the aisle have labeled this race as a “must win.” Republicans see the seat as way to take back the Senate while Democrats are hoping to use it as a way to retain power.

Tillis took shots at Hagan’s support of the Affordable Care Act during his primary campaign. But McLennan said those attacks may not resonate with voters anymore.

“Polls are suggesting that issue isn’t as significant as it was three months ago,” he said. “Folks are getting used to Obamacare and it’s not the noose around the neck it was three months ago. So, Tillis might need to broaden his attacks.”

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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