In 2003 Clay Aiken soared through the American Idol singing competition, can he do it again for Congress? Aiken formally announced his bid to run as a Democratic candidate for a congressional seat in North Carolina. Aiken’s endeavor is to replace Rep. Renee Ellmers, chairwoman of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee. Ellmers won a seat in 2010 after she defeated Democrat Bob Etheridge who previously held the seat for seven terms.
Aiken will not face Ellmers right away; he will need to win against two other Democrats in the state’s 2nd district primary first. In 2012 Ellmers was re-elected with 56 percent of the vote. During a radio interview Ellmers quickly dismissed the threat of running against Aiken by saying he was a runner-up so we know he does not always fare all that well.
While it is true he was second to 2003 Idol Winner Reuben Stoddard, Aiken actually did very well. After finishing American Idol in second place Aiken went on to release five albums and become one of the top 10 best-selling alumni’s for Idol. He also performed on Broadway and has had several successful tours as an artist.
The 35-year-old singer says he is not claiming to be a politician nor does he want to be. Aiken said he wants to help bring the idea back to his part of North Carolina that someone can indeed go to Washington to represent all people, even those that did not vote for you.
Aiken confirmed the rumors of a potential run with a campaign video on Wednesday. He explained why he wanted to run and why he felt qualified. The formal Idol contestant referred to his experience on the American Idol platform as a golden ticket but did not mention the actual singing competition by name. Aiken went on to tell how he was raised largely on the charity of friends and talked about witnessing his mother having to flee his abusive father as a youngster.
Aiken referenced his experience as a special education teacher and was sure to mention his bi-partisan credentials. Although Aiken is a Democrat former President George W. Bush appointed him to a presidential commission on special education. Aiken highlights his experience as a teacher to undercut Ellmers.
Ellmers’ campaign did not waste any time before making mention of Aiken’s sexual preference. Her campaign said when speaking of Aiken that he is a performer with political views that resemble those of San Francisco rather than Sanford. It is no secret that Aiken is gay he made it public in 2008 and has no shame.
One thing Aiken has in his favor is, although its estimated value is $2 million, his home is located in the district in which he is running. Aiken is starting off solid and his campaign has somehow convinced Houston Barnes, another Democratic primary challenger, to forego his bid for congress.
Aiken first made a name for himself in 2003 as he captivated many American Idol fans with his vocal abilities. He is now entering another competition, this time running as a Democratic candidate for a congressional seat in his hometown of North Carolina. The singer is no stranger to stress when the people’s vote matters. Clay Aiken won millions of votes as a contestant in the singing competition and has decided to take a chance at congress; will he do be able to do it again?
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)