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Too Close To Call: Ex-Idol Clay Aiken And Keith Crisco Go Home Without Knowing Winner

The contest for the Democratic nomination to North Carolina’s second congressional district was still too narrow today for either of the leading candidates, former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken and local businessman Keith Crisco, to declare victory.

The outcome of the race could be more than a week, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.

Aiken, whose fame as a singer got him almost immediate attention in the race this spring, squeaked past Crisco with by roughly one percentage point of the votes, according to State Board of Elections figures. Aiken got 40.8 percent, or 11,634 votes and Crisco got 39.5 percent, or 11,265 votes.

But this morning, Crisco refused to give up. He said that he’s waiting for the board of elections to release a full canvassing report so the campaigns could review the final numbers.

“I am very appreciative of my supporters and the hard work that the county boards of elections are doing,” Crisco said in a statement.

At a campaign party in Holly Springs on Monday night, Aiken was celebratory and thanked his supporters, but stopped short of declaring victory.

"We feel very confident," he said in a speech televised by Time Warner Cable News. "We feel very comfortable with what we are seeing tonight

Crisco, 71, a former commerce secretary and retired textile business executive, largely outspent Aiken’s campaign in advertising, the News & Observer reported. In the early stages of his campaign, Aiken, 35, relied on his celebrity status for media attention, giving interviews regularly to local and national outlets.

A third contender, Toni Morris, a licensed professional counselor from Fayetteville, got 19.6 percent of the ballot, or 5,593 of the votes, according to the State Board of Elections.

The democratic nominee will face incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers, who handedly defeated her opponent, economic commentator Frank Roche, with 58.7 percent of the vote.

Correction (1:30 p.m., May 7): An earlier version of this post gave an incorrect location for Aiken’s campaign party. The event was held in Holly Springs, not in Cary.

Jorge Valencia has been with North Carolina Public Radio since 2012. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Jorge studied journalism at the University of Maryland and reported for four years for the Roanoke Times in Virginia before joining the station. His reporting has also been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Miami Herald, and the Baltimore Sun.
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