“American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken leads his Democratic primary opponent by just 372 votes Tuesday night in a North Carolina race for the House.
Aiken had a small advantage over former North Carolina Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco, 41 percent to 40 percent, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press, which had not declared a winner as of midnight.
A third Democrat, mental health counselor Toni Morris, garnered 20 percent, according to the AP.
In the days leading up to the race, Democratic operatives predicted that Aiken’s top-heavy campaign would ultimately lead to his defeat in Tuesday’s primary. High consultant fees, coupled with disappointing fundraising , gave Aiken little cash to convince voters he was a serious candidate.
Crisco, on the other hand, spent hundreds of thousands on television ads in the district beginning in March. Some of that went toward an attack ad on Aiken, which dubbed him “No-Show Clay ,” hitting the singer for not attending meetings of a Presidential Commission for People with Intellectual Disabilities that he had been appointed to.
Yet Aiken's famous name ultimately helped him earn 41 percent in the primary.
The district will be tough for a Aiken to win. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won here in 2012 with 58 percent.
North Carolina’s 2nd District is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
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