Clay Aiken, an "American Idol" runner-up and Democratic long-shot running for Congress in North Carolina, reported raising $233,000 in the first quarter of this year.
Aiken's haul includes a $23,000 loan to his campaign, according to his campaign finance report filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission . Aiken reported $125,000 in cash on hand as of March 31.
The haul is smaller than expected for a celebrity candidate ; they often rake in huge hauls thanks to deep-pocketed Hollywood connections. Aiken will face former state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco and mental health counselor Toni Morris in a Democratic primary on May 6. In an interview over the weekend, Aiken told Roll Call that he is confident he will emerge from the primary in the 2nd District.
"We’ve done an initial primary poll and it showed us with a pretty substantial, healthy lead over both the second- and third-place opponents," Aiken said in a Saturday phone interview. "We haven’t done one since that, but I think the margin there was somewhere between 20 and 30 percent."
All three are looking to oust GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers, who is expected to win re-election in this GOP-friendly district. Mitt Romney carried the district with 57 percent in 2012.
The other candidates have yet to file their first-quarter reports, which are due to the FEC by midnight Tuesday.
North Carolina’s 2nd District is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.