Updated 2:22 p.m. | "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken, who is running for a North Carolina House seat as a Democrat, launched his first TV ad Tuesday — a bio spot highlighting his difficult childhood and his recent help for children with autism.
"I'm running for Congress, and I approve this message because every child deserves a chance," Aiken says in the ad, released two weeks ahead of the state's May 6 primaries.
The 30-second ad is airing on broadcast in Raleigh, according to a Democratic source tracking media buys in North Carolina. It is largely a mash-up of Aiken's announcement video from when he launched his campaign in February. Aiken's ad is backed by a $40,000 buy and will air on the major networks and cable, according to his campaign.
Aiken will face former North Carolina Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco and mental health counselor Toni Morris in a Democratic primary in the 2nd District. If no candidate garners at least 40 percent of the vote, the race will head to a July 15 runoff.
The winner of the primary will likely face GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers in an uphill race for this Republican-leaning, horseshoe-shaped district, which includes the outskirts of Raleigh, parts of Fayetteville and the Fort Bragg military base. Mitt Romney carried the district by 16 points in 2012.
Ellmers faces a primary from radio show host Frank Roche, but he has raised little cash and garnered little traction for his bid.
Aiken reported raising $233,000 in the first quarter and had $125,000 in cash on hand as of March 31. On April 21, Aiken hosted a fundraiser with comedian Kathy Griffin and "American Idol" producer Nigel Lythgoe, among others.
North Carolina’s 2nd District is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.