by Bob Geary
Whoa, the Democratic primary in U.S. House District 2 was a squeaker, mainly because Fayetteville's Toni Morris captured almost 20 percent of the votes — very unexpected. That left Clay Aiken and Keith Crisco with little margin for error as they 1) tried to reach the 40 percent threshold for victory, and 2) tried to beat each other.
With all the precincts in, Aiken finished with 40.8 percent to Crisco's 39.5, making Aiken the outright, if narrow, victor. (Crisco can call for a recount, of course.)
Aiken, if he holds onto his lead, will face Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, who defeated tea-party challenger Frank Roche. Ellmers will be a heavy favorite barring a Democratic tidal wave, but Aiken has come from behind before — in his run for "American Idol" against the heavily favored Ruben Studdard. (Who, in case you missed it, backed Aiken for Congress.)
In U.S. House District 13, Brenda Cleary won the Democratic nomination easily against Viginia Conlon and Ron Sanyal. Cleary is given little chance of unseating Republican Congressman George Holding.
If you're counting at home, that's two-for-two for Indy-endorsed Democrats in districts containing part of Raleigh. For both Aiken and Cleary, however, the fact that these districts are drawn to be Republican strongholds leaves each with a mountain to climb.