Voters got their first chance to weigh in on Clay Aiken's political career yesterday, and it wasn't exactly a rousing success. Aiken currently holds an incredibly slim lead over his Democratic primary opponent in North Carolina's 2nd District, with 40.83% of the vote to Keith Crisco's 39.4%, but the race is still considered too close to call, CNN reports. If the current vote counts hold, Crisco will have fallen 369 votes short of pulling a Ruben Studdard on the (former?) country music star; the current margin is enough for Aiken to avoid a recall. "I said earlier tonight, I sort of preferred when they just open the envelope," Aiken told supporters. All precincts have reported.
The results were a lot more conclusive in North Carolina, where the establishment favorite Thom Tillis crushed Tea Party-backed Libertarian Greg Brannon 45.7% to 27%, Politico reports. American Crossroads and the US Chamber of Commerce put more than $10 million behind Tillis, and Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, and Mitch McConnell all endorsed him, believing he was the better choice to take on Democrat Kay Hagan. Brannon, meanwhile, had support from Rand Paul and Mike Lee. "The Tea Party is showing signs of early aging," observes Margaret Carlson at Bloomberg. (Read more Clay Aiken stories.)