Under the Dome

Aiken raises close to one-quarter million dollars but still trails Crisco

Clay Aiken has raised close to a quarter million dollars in the first three months of this year for his campaign for Congress – trailing his main competitor in the Democratic primary, Keith Crisco, who has raised almost $450,000.

Crisco’s fundraising was supplemented by $247,000 in loans to himself. He has only $38,000 cash on hand, following a heavy advertising blitz.

Aiken raised about $233,000, which includes a $24,000 loan to himself to cover exploratory expenses two days before he officially announced he would enter the race. He reported $125,000 cash on hand.

None of the money Aiken raised so far is from political parties or PACS.

Incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers, a Republican from Dunn, reports raising $324,330, and has $433,787 cash on hand. The report for Frank Roche, her primary opponent, has not yet been posted on the FEC site.

Aiken has been actively fundraising out of state, including in Atlanta and Washington. He has a fundraising event Monday, April 21, at the 2000 Avenue of the Stars building in West Los Angeles featuring luminaries of the recording industry: music producer David Foster (Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Josh Groban); actress and comedian Kathy Griffin; Alan F. Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios; Simon Renshaw, who managed Aiken’s singing career (along with the Dixie Chicks); Rob Light, managing partner of Creative Artists Agency; and Nigel Lythgoe, producer of “American Idol,” “Pop Idol” and a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Brice Barnes, wife of former 2nd Congressional District candidate Houston Barnes – who agreed to step aside and support Aiken – is handling fundraising for Aiken through her Greenprint Strategies firm.

Aiken’s campaign has said it hasn’t been spending money on TV ads or yard signs because the candidate already has unusually strong name recognition.

By comparison, former state Sen. David Rouzer, who is running in the 7th Congressional District, reports raising $293,000 in the first quarter. Rouzer, who narrowly lost to the incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre in 2012, has $418,819 cash on hand.