WJTV News Channel 12 - Questions surround District 2 race following Crisco's death

Questions surround District 2 race following Crisco's sudden death

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Keith Crisco and Clay Aiken vie for the Democratic nomination in North Carolina's 2nd U.S. Congressional District. Keith Crisco and Clay Aiken vie for the Democratic nomination in North Carolina's 2nd U.S. Congressional District.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Following the sudden death of United States congressional candidate Keith Crisco on Monday, a number of questions surround the "too close to call" race between Crisco, Clay Aiken and Toni Morris of Fayetteville.

Heading into Tuesday's voter canvass for the Democratic nomination in North Carolina's 2nd U.S. Congressional District, Aiken holds the lead by 369 votes. Aiken is credited with 11,634 votes, while Crisco has 11,265 and Morris has 5,593 votes.

Aiken is above the 40 percent threshold he needs to avoid a runoff and is over the 1 percent margin for a recount as well. But 71-year-old Crisco refused to concede the election until after all of the ballots were counted on Tuesday.

The State Board of Elections explained that if Aiken and Crisco switch positions and the results are above the 1 margin margin where Aiken will not be able to call for a recount, Crisco will become the nominee. In that case, the Democratic Party Executive Committee in his district will be tasked with naming a Democratic nominee for the 2nd Congressional District.

However if Crisco takes the lead and is below the 1 percent margin, Aiken's camp can still call for recount.

If the canvass shows Aiken retains the most votes and at least a 40 percent margin, however, the point is moot and Aiken will face Rep. Renee Ellmers.

"At present Mr. Aiken already has a commanding lead. We're not talking a lot, but we are talking above the threshold for a runoff. We’re also talking above the threshold for a recount," N.C. BOE spokesman Josh Lawson said. "Now in both of those scenarios, Mr. Crisco would've been the one to request the recount. Unfortunately he's no longer with us and unable to do so."

Veteran political consultant Brad Crone said he spoke with Crisco earlier Monday and Crisco planned to concede.

"At his instruction, I had called Gary Pearce to convey that Keith was going to concede the election tomorrow morning and would be calling Mr. Aiken to congratulate him," Crone wrote in an email.

In response to Crisco's death, Aiken said he planned to suspend all campaign activities "as we pray for [Crisco's] family and friends."

Tuesday's voter canvass is scheduled to begin Tuesday at 11 a.m.

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Eileen joined WNCN after years of working as a foreign correspondent. During her time off, she enjoys relaxing with her dogs, reading, and exploring the Triangle. More>>

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