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Clay Aiken wins NC Dem congressional primary

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- "American Idol" singer Clay Aiken won what had been a hotly contested Democratic primary for a North Carolina congressional seat according to a final, unofficial vote count that was posted Tuesday, a day after the accidental death of his closest rival.

Aiken will face Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers in November in the GOP-leaning district where Mitt Romney won nearly six in 10 votes in 2012. Ellmers won by 56 percent that year and is looking for a third term. The county-by-county tally of the 2nd Congressional District race posted by the state Tuesday confirmed Aiken got more than 40 percent of the vote needed to win the three-candidate race.

On Monday, second-place finisher Keith Crisco, 71, died after falling at his home. Hours earlier, campaign manager Christine Botta said they had counted the absentee votes in two key counties, forcing Crisco to acknowledge defeat. He had decided to concede his loss to Aiken on Tuesday, she said.

"Keith and I talked in detail about the fact that the votes weren't there," Botta said.

Aiken and Crisco each picked up a handful of votes after the last of the absentee ballots returned by a Monday deadline were counted, according to results on the State Board of Elections website.

The results will become official after review by the state elections board. That meeting isn't yet set, Elections board spokesman Joshua Lawson said, but is tentatively scheduled for May 22.

Aiken issued a statement of regret at Crisco's death on Monday and said he was suspending campaign activities for a time. Aiken's campaign website was black but for that statement on Tuesday. Aiken's campaign declined to comment Tuesday on his victory because of the decision to suspend campaign efforts, spokeswoman Tucker Middleton said in an email.

Spokesmen for Ellmers did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

Crisco slipped and fell while stepping through the front door of his home in Asheboro, about 65 miles west of Raleigh.

"We know that he fell in the threshold as he was going in his house," said Asheboro city manager John Ogburn, who spoke with rescue workers sent to the scene and has known Crisco for more than a decade.

"It was just a total freak accident," said Brad Crone, a Raleigh political consultant and friend who discussed Crisco's concession decision with the candidate about two hours before his death. "The truth is stranger than fiction."

Crisco's funeral was scheduled for Friday.

Aiken is an openly gay man in a district populated with many socially conservative, evangelical Christians. He said that during the primary he was never asked about his orientation except by reporters.

Ellmers, a 50-year-old nurse from Dunn, rode the tea party wave that shook up Congress in 2010. But she was attacked this year by fellow conservatives for backing a formula on immigration that the GOP House leadership advanced in January. That plan would allow an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally to stay in the country if they paid a fine but would not allow them to qualify for citizenship.

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fldpwrman May 13 2014 at 7:20 PM

well obviously Hillary Clinton had the other guy whacked, to further her nefarious schemes

Flag Reply +1 rate up
calisunlife May 14 2014 at 12:58 AM

gay aikens won by defall. i bet he is gonna kiss a lot of ass.

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3 replies
mproviderone May 14 2014 at 1:07 AM

I THINK YOU WILL LIKE HIM BETTER AFTER HES IN OFFICE. THE MAN SHOULD BE A REP THE WAY HE THINKS. SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA TELL A FEW TO GET IN OFFICE......ASK OBABAMA.....THATS KENYEN.... CLAY IN AN AMERICAN GOD GUNS COUNTRY BOY. HE LOVES THIS COUNTRY. AND WANT IT BACK !!!!!!!

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1 reply
Marina mproviderone May 14 2014 at 4:14 AM

Really???? He acts like a Rep - who wants to bring back the USA to what it has been for hundreds of years ?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Mary Vance Nasvik May 14 2014 at 1:16 AM

Too bad he's a dreaded Democrat.

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3 replies
sampson7770 May 14 2014 at 3:05 AM

wow clay weiner won! stiff competition,I personally think clay wouldn't have the strength to push his opponent down the stairs it be like Mr.Burns from the Simpons trying to push a man down the stairs.hope he lives up to what he promises, Good luck Clay

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
Rod sampson7770 May 14 2014 at 4:38 AM

Look Americans, it's simpleton comments like this that have brought us this destructive TEA BAGGER cancer on our country !

Flag Reply +5 rate up
2 replies
patriot1too Rod May 14 2014 at 6:30 AM

Thankfully America does have the Tea Party movement that has and will address the real issues in America. Not the liberal extremisist politicaly correct rubber stamping that these know nothing demonrat party people have done for too long. We shall never vote for bad even though the liberals paint it as good. Thats the problem. God bless America.

Flag +3 rate up
Meh... Rod May 14 2014 at 8:49 AM

Patirot100...You just defended a comment that referenced the Simpsons and pushing someone down stairs.. way to go. That says a lot.

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Rod May 14 2014 at 4:36 AM

It is this so called 'tea bagger' movement which is destroying our democracy as we have known it - please NC wake up & support this young man who speaks so passionately about your state & your needs !

Flag Reply +6 rate up
5 replies
midnitedip May 14 2014 at 6:20 AM

of course he won his opponent is dead

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giyank1 May 14 2014 at 7:03 AM

Libs will vote in another with no work, gov't experience like the one in the White House.

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1 reply
patriot1too giyank1 May 14 2014 at 7:19 AM

So true. Liberals are the most non informed voters we have ever seen. Thats how we wound up with this obama / clinton mess.

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bochemilner May 14 2014 at 7:18 AM

Amazing how voters will support this person. Shows just how sick America really is.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
patriot1too May 14 2014 at 7:20 AM

Any sane voter would not vote him as dog catcher.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
Meh... patriot1too May 14 2014 at 8:41 AM

agreed

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