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DEMOCRAT CONCEDES IN N.C. HOUSE RACE

Democrat challenger Larry Kissell conceded defeat Wednesday to Rep. Robin Hayes, after an initial phase of a hand recount showed almost no change in Hayes' lead.

Kissell conceded after five of the 10 counties in the district completed the hand recount. He picked up only two votes.

The race, which Hayes led by 329 votes of 121,523 cast following a machine recount last week, is one of the last unresolved elections for a U.S. House seat.

Other unresolved races are in Louisiana, Texas and Ohio, as well as the Sarasota House race where Democrat Christine Jennings has contested her loss to Republican Vern Buchanan.

WASHINGTON

Pastor defends his invitation to Obama

Pastor and author Rick Warren on Wednesday defended his invitation to Sen. Barack Obama to speak at his church despite objections from evangelicals who oppose the Democrat's support for abortion rights.

Obama is one of nearly 60 speakers scheduled to address the second annual Global Summit on AIDS and the Church beginning Thursday at Warren's Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.

Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, e-mailed reporters Tuesday to protest the visit because of Obama's support of abortion rights.

The church said participants were invited because of their knowledge of HIV/AIDS and that Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, opposes Obama's position on abortion. "We do not expect all participants in the summit discussion to agree with all of our evangelical beliefs," the church said in a statement.

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