N.C. congressional race heads toward recount

Seven-term Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) has put Republican opponent Renee Ellmers on notice that he fully intends to seek a recount in the race if the margin between the two remains below 1 percent of the vote.

Ellmers declared victory Tuesday night and the race was called in her favor, but after the discovery of a counting error Wednesday, the Republican's lead shrunk by 453 votes. 

An error in one of the state's counties prevented three full boxes of votes from being counted Tuesday. After further investigation Thursday, state elections officials verified that those previously uncounted votes were valid and did in fact shrink Ellmer's lead. 

It was critical for Etheridge, because the adjusted totals placed the race within the 1 percent margin that allows the incumbent to request a recount.    

"I have notified the Board of Elections that it is my intent to request a recount if the margin is less than 1 percent when all the votes are counted," Etheridge said Wednesday.  

Etheridge's race gained some brief national attention earlier this year when a video hit YouTube of the congressman on a Washington street in a confrontation with two young men. Republican strategists now admit they were behind the incident.  

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed Ellmers in August, and the race made national news again in September when the Republican released a campaign ad labeling the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero in New York a "victory mosque."

-Updated at 8:05 p.m.