Former "American Idol" star Clay Aiken says he’s leading his two primary Democratic opponents in the race for a North Carolina congressional seat.
The singer, who is openly gay, has raised $233,000 in the first quarter of this year in his longshot bid to win the Second District, according to Roll Call.
Aiken reported that he still had $125,000 in the bank at the end of March, although his campaign finance report shows that he owes $23,000 to the campaign.
According to the report, his fundraising efforts fall well short of the sum usually raised in an election race by celebrities, who can call on their wealthy Hollywood friends.
But Aiken was thrilled with how much support he’s gained so far in the contest, and he says that he’s well-ahead of his two primary opponents.
"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 told Roll Call. "We haven’t done one since that, but I think the margin there was somewhere between 20 and 30 percent."
Aiken will face former state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco and mental health counselor Toni Morris in the May 6 primary.
The Democrats are looking to unseat Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers, who is favored to win re-election in the district that Mitt Romney carried with 57 percent in 2012.
Aiken, who is single dad to a 5-year-old son, placed second in 2003 on "American Idol"
to Ruben Studdard.
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