Update Monday 10:39 AM: the Town of Cary says that there was no "last minute cancellation" at Cary Arts Center.
Rather, there was simply no space available.
Last night, a tense air hung over Clay Aiken's primary night party at the Devil's Ridge Golf Club out in Holly Springs. First, the gathering was originally supposed to be in Cary, at the Cary Arts Center.
A last minute cancellation
forced the Aiken team to throw down $1,000 to reserve the 90s-time-capsule ballroom set back in Devil's Ridge.
The tension was not just the tightening of the race as the precinct tallies came online, but the complete absence of booze. Adding insult to injury, Devil's Ridge had a bar across the hallway, but it was strictly members only. Aiken's young, shellshocked looking staff wandered the halls of the country club, staring at their phones, saying, "We need alcohol."
The Claymates and volunteers that showed up were mostly middle-aged women. Where was Clay's strong Millennial constituency everyone was talking about? The gathered awkwardly ate pretzels and brownies and drank lemonade for four straight hours. The candidate himself remained quarantined back in a country club war room with his inner circle. A voyeuristic peep through the outside "Player's Club" window revealed the funereal-looking Aiken gang, Aiken himself staring obsessively at his phone watching the tallies.
Aiken finally came out at around 11:30 to greet his remaining supporters. He was up just over 300 votes and the mood was awkwardly jubilant. A woman beside us kept coming over and saying, "He won! He won!" but did not quite seem to believe herself. The night ended with the race too close to call.
This morning, textile entrepreneur and moderate Democrat Keith Crisco said, “This election is still very tight. I want the elections' officials to have an opportunity to tally the votes and provide a report on their canvass activities to allow all the campaigns a chance to see the final numbers. This has been a great campaign and I am very appreciative of my supporters and the hard work that the county boards of elections are doing at this time."
Crisco's team is taking the day to call local precincts, more closely examine numbers and check if there are any other absentee ballots. Tomorrow, once this canvas is completed, they'll make an announcement. If the numbers tighten up between Crisco and Aiken, Crisco could demand a recount.