Under the Dome

Clay Aiken banking on his name, not TV or signs

Congressional candidate and ex-crooner Clay Aiken has had one advantage in his campaign for the Democratic nomination to challenge Rep. Renee Ellmers, thanks to the currency of celebrity.

But is he running low of cash currency?

At the end of February, Aiken sold the mansion he had built in 2006 in a corner of Chatham County near Cary for more than $700,000 less than he paid for it. Now he’s renting a 4,200-square-foot, half-million-dollar spread in Cary’s Amberly-Village Square development, which is still in the 2nd Congressional District.

While his chief competitor, Keith Crisco, has been an increasing presence – a TV ad campaign and Crisco signs all around the district – Aiken hasn’t done any commercials or signs.

Money trouble? Not so, says his campaign.

“Clay has near universal name recognition in the 2nd District,” campaign communications manager Tucker Middleton told Dome. “We really don’t feel the need to buy that with TV or signs. The more voters know about Clay, the more they like him, and for that reason we may end up running TV ads before the primary. We’re pretty comfortable where we are at this point.”

Middleton said Aiken had his house on the market before he entered the race, and that selling it had nothing to do with the campaign.

We’ll know more about both candidates’ money situation in a few days, when the first federal campaign finance reports are due.