Clay Aiken wins congressional primary by 390 votes in final count

Former "American Idol" star Clay Aiken won the Democratic primary for U.S. House in North Carolina's 2nd district by 390 votes, according to a final tally of the vote posted Tuesday on the state Elections Board's Web site.


Clay Aiken (D). (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Chris Seward)

The results must still be officially certified, which will tentatively happen on May 22, a spokesman for the state board said.

Aiken defeated former state commerce secretary Keith Crisco, who died suddenly on Monday after suffering a fall, by 1.37 percentage points. A third candidate, Toni Morrison, finished well behind the two.

The outcome of the election had been in doubt after last Tuesday's primary, given the uncertainty about outstanding absentee ballots that had yet to be tallied. But in the end, the lead Aiken had a day after the election did not move very much.

Aiken will face Rep. Renee Ellmers (R) in the general election. He will begin as a sizable underdog in a district that leans far to the right. Mitt Romney won 57 percent of the vote there in 2012.

Aiken said Monday on Twitter that he was suspending his campaign activities "as we pray" for family and friends of Crisco.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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