Asheville, N.C. (AP) -- Former Vol quarterback and Democrat Heath Shuler has taken an early lead tonight over incumbent Republican Representative Charles Taylor.
It's a race Democrats are hoping to win as they press to take control of the US House.
With 11% of precincts reporting in Western North Carolina's Eleventh District, the newcomer Shuler led 52 to 48 percent with a margin of about 1600 votes overall.
Shuler was a quarterback for Swain County High School before starring at the University of Tennessee and playing in the NFL. He's trying to become the first North Carolina candidate to oust a sitting house member in a decade.
Taylor, a banker and timber farmer from Brevard, is bidding for a ninth term.
Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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