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Report: Clay Aiken Holds 372-Vote Lead In Too Close To Call Dem Primary

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Clay Aiken speaks onstage at the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Marriott Marquis on March 28, 2009 in New York City. (credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Clay Aiken speaks onstage at the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Marriott Marquis on March 28, 2009 in New York City. (credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

RALEIGH, N.C. (CBS Charlotte/AP) — The Democratic congressional primary race between former “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken and textile entrepreneur Keith Crisco remained very close and without a clear winner.

Aiken and Crisco each had about 40 percent of the vote, trailed by licensed family counselor Toni Morris of Fayetteville in Tuesday’s primary race in the 2nd Congressional District.

Roll Call reports that Aiken holds a slim 372-vote lead over Crisco

Aiken’s first political campaign drew an unusual amount of celebrity buzz thanks to his singing career and a second-place finish on “Celebrity Apprentice.” Crisco spent four years as the state’s top business recruiter under under former Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue.

The primary winner will challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers in November. Ellmers, first elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave, handily defeated her challenger in the heavily Republican district.

Aiken has said reporters are the only people asking whether being a gay man could impede his campaign to represent such a conservative district. Both he and Crisco touted themselves as centrists.

“We need to stay out of people’s bedrooms,” Bob Finch, a 57-year-old Democrat from Lee County, said Tuesday.

CBS News Election Director Anthony Salvanto said that this district would be hard for any Democrat to win.

“It’s a heavily Republican district,” Salvanto told CBS News. “President Obama got just 42 percent of the vote there in 2012.”

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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