Aiken, Crisco seek support from Democrats in Cary

aspecht@newsobserver.comApril 28, 2014 

— Tami Kennedy is torn.

The 57-year-old mother from Cary can’t decide which Democrat she favors in North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District.

She likes Clay Aiken, the 35-year-old pop singer, because he speaks with conviction and is energetic. But she said he sometimes comes across as too young for the job.

She respects the resume of 70-year-old Keith Crisco, the state’s former commerce secretary. But after seeing him in person, Kennedy said Crisco may be too “dry and rehearsed” to fire up voters.

Then there’s Toni Morris, a Fayetteville counselor. Kennedy heard Morris speak on Sunday during a Western Wake Dems forum at Cary High School.

But she didn’t even mention Morris when considering who could beat incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers, considered the likely Republican candidate, this November.

“I still need to hear a little more,” Kennedy said.

The candidates mostly stuck to their established positions. There’s no clear front-runner leading up to the primary on May 6, and many of the 120 Democrats at the Cary event seemed undecided.

About 80,000 – 18 percent – of the 434,500 registered voters in District 2 live in Wake County. Of those, about 26,200 are registered Democrats. About 26,700 are Republicans and about 26,900 are not affiliated.

The district favors a Republican candidate, but district residents such as Witold Urbanowicz hope a Democrat can win the seat for the first time since Bob Etheridge won in 2008.

Urbanowicz and his wife moved to Cary from Brooklyn last year. The 70-year-old is just wading into local politics and said he’s still on the fence.

He likes Aiken. But he worries that Aiken, who’s openly gay, could struggle to win support in a district that’s mostly rural and conservative.

“I hate it, but it’s still that kind of world in some places,” he said.

Crisco doesn’t necessarily have everything Urbanowicz wants in a candidate. But Crisco might be “the most electable,” he said.

Specht: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @AndySpecht

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