After North Carolina businessman Keith Crisco died suddenly on Monday, the House race in which he was challenging former “American Idol” star Clay Aiken has moved into uncharted territory.
Before he died of injuries reportedly suffered in a fall at his home, Crisco said he planned to wait for the results of a local district canvass to determine whether he would call for a recount. That canvass is still scheduled to take place Tuesday morning.
But don’t expect anything out of “The West Wing” when it comes to North Carolina’s second congressional district. Josh Lawson, a spokesman for North Carolina’s state board of elections, explained three possible outcomes to Business Insider on Tuesday:
- According to the initial official count from last Tuesday’s primary election, Aiken leads by about 1.29%. If Tuesday’s canvass had narrowed that gap to less than 1%, Crisco could have called for a recount. However, North Carolina’s statutes require the candidate physically calls for the recount. “So there wouldn’t be a recount, even if Mr. Crisco was otherwise eligible,” Lawson said. The state could still do a recount on its own, but it would be unlikely, he added.
- If Aiken fell below 40%, Crisco could have called for a runoff election between him and Aiken, the top-two finishers. But the same statutes apply in this scenario, as well — the runner-up has to physically call for that runoff.
- In “the most dramatic change” possible, Crisco could theoretically assume a lead after Tuesday’s canvass. If he became the nominee, Lawson said, then the District Executive Committee for the Democratic Party would pick a nominee. “That is statistically highly unlikely, given that the vast majority of votes are already in and reported,” Lawson said. “And what’s remaining are absentee votes that haven’t necessary been included in that total, as well as provisional ballots.”
Aiken said Monday he was suspending campaign operations in the aftermath of Crisco’s death. The eventual Democratic nominee in District 2 will face incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers.
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