Singer Clay Aiken has gone from American Idol runner-up to nail-biting candidate, on the brink of being nominated for Congress.
Votes continued to be counted Wednesday in North Carolina, where Aiken holds a slim lead over Keith Crisco in the Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District.
Aiken, who is making his first bid for elected office, currently has a 369-vote edge over Crisco, a former state Commerce secretary. A recount can be requested if the difference between the candidates is 1% or less, and right now Aiken is a little over that mark.
State Board of Elections officials say they will count all absentee ballots that were postmarked by Tuesday, as well as any provisional ballots that are determined to be eligible. In addition, the nine counties in the district have until May 13 to conduct their official vote canvass and submit them to the state board.
"We need to tabulate our results," said Josh Lawson, a spokesman for the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
Aiken, who appeared on American Idol in 2003, told his supporters late Tuesday that he was confident he'd be facing GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers in the Nov. 4 general election. Toni Morris, a licensed professional counselor, is running a distant third to Aiken and Crisco.
Crisco, who served in the administration of Gov. Bev Perdue, wants all the votes counted.
"This election is still very tight," he said in a statement. "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."
Spokesman Aaron Fiedler said the Crisco campaign would contact the elections boards in the district's nine counties to get their vote tallies and "regroup" on Thursday.