Clay Aiken primary too close to call

 

Former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken holds a tenuous 372-vote lead over his Democratic primary rival with all votes counted in their House battle.

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Aiken, a political neophyte, leads former state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco (D) by 41 percent to 40 percent, with all precincts reporting. The Associated Press has not yet called the race.

Aiken was outspent by a wide margin by Crisco, who self-funded much of his campaign.

The pop star struggled to raise money for the race despite his fame, and Crisco was able to go up much earlier with TV ads. But his high name identification and a strong biographical TV ad helped boost him in the race.

Aiken said he was "very confident that we'll be victorious" in a Tuesday night speech but didn't claim victory.

Whoever wins the race will be a major underdog against Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) in a district former presidential candidate Mitt Romney carried by 16 percentage points in 2012.