NASHVILLE, TENN., AUG. 2 -- Tennessee's only black congressman held an early lead over two Democratic primary opponents tonight in his second attempt for a ninth term under a cloud of fraud charges he blames on racism.
Rep. Harold E. Ford, heavily favored to retain his seat, had 82 percent to state Rep. Pam Gaia's 14 percent and Memphis businessman Mark Flanagan's 3 percent with 19 precincts reporting.
The vote count was delayed because long lines of voters were still at the polls at the 7 p.m. Central Daylight Time, official closing time. The polls were kept open a couple of hours more.
Aaron Davis, 79, a political newcomer, ran unopposed in the Republican primary for Ford's seat. The winners will face each other in November's general election.
In other races, Democrats U.S. Sen. Albert Gore Jr. and Gov. Ned McWherter were unopposed in Democratic primaries as they sought re-election to second terms.
Ford, 45, was indicted by a federal grand jury in 1987 on bank and mail fraud charges. He spent 11 weeks on trial in Memphis before a mistrial was declared in April when jurors deadlocked. Prosecutors say a second trial will be held, but no date has been set.
Ford is accused of taking payoffs disguised as loans from former bankers Jake Butcher and C.H. Butcher Jr. In 1983, the Butcher brothers touched off the largest banking collapse in state history.