The crucial US midterm result in North Carolina will be that of the closely fought contest between the incumbent Democrat Senator, Kay Hagan, and her GOP challenger, Thom Tillis.
But some music fans may also be keeping an ear out for the result of the Congressional race in the state’s second district. That’s because a beloved former American Idol runner-up, Clay Aiken, is tonight hoping to do better than second place as he runs as a Democrat to unseat Republican Renee Ellmers.
Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, the 35-year-old sometime special education teacher lost out narrowly in the talent show’s 2003 final, but has nonetheless gone on to success on Broadway and the Billboard charts. In 2008, he appeared on the cover of People magazine after announcing that he was gay. Now Mr Aiken is running for national office as a Democrat, in a conservative district of a state that voted narrowly for Mitt Romney in 2012.
In pictures: Midterms 2014
In pictures: Midterms 2014
1/14 Red Oak, Iowa
Voters get an 'I VOTED TODAY' sticker after casting their ballots in Red Oak, Iowa
2/14 Washington, DC
A pollling station in Washington, DC. Most signs point toward President Barack Obama's party suffering crippling election setbacks.
Local resident Marybeth Davenport casts her ballot at a polling place at the Jamestown Town Hall
4/14 Red Oak, Iowa
Voters fill in their ballots at the Red Oak Fire Department in Red Oak, Iowa
5/14 Michelle Nunn
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn hugs phone bank volunteers on the eve of the mid-term election at her campaign headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Nunn is in a tight race against Republican opponent David Perdue.
6/14 Get Out the Vote Rally
Democrats hold a "Get Out the Vote Rally" for US Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, who is up for reelection, and other Democratic candidates, at Old Town Alexandria Market Square in Alexandria, Virginia, on the night before midterm elections.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
7/14 Kids Vote
A father helps his son vote in a special "Kids Vote" while Kentucky voters cast their votes at Northside Elementary School in Midway, Kentucky. The "Kids Vote" is designed to encourage children to exercise their right to vote when they reach legal voting age.
8/14 Searsmont, Maine
A handmade sign stuck in a snowbank on a rural road urges citizens to vote in Searsmont, Maine
9/14 Madbury, New Hampshire
Voters cast their ballots at Madbury Town Hall in Madbury, New Hampshire. There is a tight race for a U.S Senate seat between incumbent U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen and former Massachusetts U.S. Senator Scott Brown.
10/14 Albany, New York
Voters fill out their ballots in a gym on election day in Albany, New York
11/14 Clay Aiken
Clay Aiken, Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in North Carolina's Second District, jokes with members of the media as he waits in line to vote
12/14 Louisville, Kentucky
Voters cast their ballots in the midterm elections at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.
13/14 Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell holds his ballot after placing his vote at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky.
14/14 Alexandria, Virginia
A dog waits for its owner to vote at the polling station in the Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy in Alexandria, Virginia
On his way to the American Idol final, Mr Aiken picked up 12 million votes from the American public. He doesn’t need nearly that many to triumph tonight. But in what might be seen as a bad omen for the underdog candidate, his campaign bus broke down this morning as it was leaving the polling station where he had just voted. Police had to tow the vehicle off the road.
Meanwhile, North Carolina’s Senate contest is seen as a bellwether for the broader national result, with Ms Hagan clinging on for dear life against Mr Tillis, the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives. Like most Democrat candidates across the US, Ms Hagan has sought to distance herself from a deeply unpopular President. But in the past 24 hours, her campaign released a radio ad featuring Mr Obama’s dulcet tones, advising voters: “Stand with me, President Obama, and take responsibility in moving North Carolina forward by voting for Kay Hagan.”Reuse content