Clay Aiken, the singer who got his start on American Idol, has won the Democratic primary in the race for one of North Carolina’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Clay Aiken Wins Democratic Primary

In order to win the primary, Aiken had to defeat former state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco and family counselor Tony Morris, who’d lost the nomination in a previous election cycle. A Raleigh native, Aiken will now have to campaign against two-term Republican incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers for the November election, reported the Star Ledger.

Though Aiken’s win in the primary was no small feat, having just barely edged out Crisco, winning against Ellmers will be a far more difficult task. The 2nd Congressional District in North Carolina in which Aiken is running – which includes suburbs of Raleigh and Fayetteville – leans heavily Republican. In the primary, Ellmers received nearly the same amount of votes as Aiken and Crisco combined. In the 2012 general presidential elections, Mitt Romney took 57% of the vote.

Throughout his campaign in the primary, in which he was outspent by Crisco over the airwaves, Aiken focused on the issues of job creation and adult education retraining programs. His rhetoric saw him gain the support of labor, teacher and civil justice PACS, reported the News & Observer.

Aiken was the first runner-up in the second season of American Idol, losing to R&B singer Ruben Studdard. In 2008, Aiken announced that he’d become a father after using a surrogate and later came out as gay. His last album, Steadfast, came out in 2012.

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