In what some have called a dead heat race, former American Idol runner up Clay Aiken barely beat out 71-year-old J. Keith Crisco in a democratic primary election on May 6th for North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District. Although 35-year-old Aiken was named the provisional winner by approximately 369 votes, a recount was anticipated because the vote was just too close to call.
Apparently there will be no recount now. Just six days later, and Crisco has suddenly been found dead. Although the coroner has not confirmed anything yet, the mainstream media is reporting Crisco suffered an accidental fall earlier today and that is what led to his death.
Aiken had barely the votes required to win in the first place; he received 40.8% of the vote in the primary — meaning some people somewhere are actually taking him seriously — but he still barely got the 40% required by North Carolina election rules.
Now, however, the LA Times is reporting that Aiken’s nomination is basically confirmed:
Crisco’s death now all but ensures that Aiken will be the Democratic nominee to face incumbent Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers in November. Even if the final vote count Tuesday showed Crisco taking the lead, the district Democratic Party’s executive committee would then nominate a replacement candidate, according to Joshua Lawson, a spokesman for the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
So unless more votes for Crisco suddenly show up, Aiken’s got it in the bag.
In his campaign video above, Aiken stresses his working class roots as a special education teacher, likely to try and get away from the fact that everything about him, including his campaign video, just further makes him out to be a plasticine fixture of celebrity politics. (He has disabled comments on his video on YouTube, by the way.)
Aiken has claimed his dream is to help people with developmental disabilities. However, according to Crisco in the rebuttal ad below, even though Aiken was appointed by George W. Bush to the Presidential Committee on People with Intellectual Disabilities in 2006 and apparently given the chance to live that dream, Aiken was so excited about it that he never even bothered to show up for a single meeting.
When he got called on it later, Aiken told People Magazine that he would have liked to do more but he was just too busy, saying, “If there’s something I can do remotely, I would’ve been happy to do it.”
Does he plan to work his Congressional seat in the same way? Remotely?
On an aside, Aiken is being handled by Gary Pearce, a longtime figure in North Carolina politics (longer than Aiken has been alive) who was the top advisor to former Governor Jim Hunt.
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