American Idol Star Clay Aiken Reportedly Eyeing Congressional Run
Clay Aiken came in second in American Idol and again in Celebrity Apprentice, but he is now reportedly interested in running for a North Carolina congressional seat, the Washington Blade reported. Perhaps appropriately, he seeks the seat in the state's 2 nd congressional district.
If Aiken runs and successfully wins a Democratic primary, he would challenge two-term Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers.
Aiken, known for his ever changing hair styles as much as his singing, came to fame when he lost to Reuben Studdard in the second season of American Idol. He rode his fame for a shot at Celebrity Apprentice where Donald Trump picked comedian Arsenio Hall as the winner, making Aiken a runner-up again.
Aiken is apparently hoping to finally be a winner in politics.
Sources at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), where Aiken is reported to have met with officials to discuss a potential candidacy, refused to deny or wave off that account but would not comment directly on Aiken's interest.
David Bergstein, southern regional press secretary for the DCCC, charged that Ellmers "is responsible for the most unpopular and reckless Congress in history" but noted "it's up to potential candidates to talk about whether they're interested in running for Congress, not us."
And he has reportedly had meetings with Democratic pollsters at Hart Research, a survey research firm based in Washington, which worked on President Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
Only two Republicans have represented the seat since 1900, and a national Republican source noted that Obama lost the 2nd District by 16 points in the 2012 presidential election and by 13 points in 2008.
But in 2008, Obama was able to win in the state of North Carolina and came close to winning it in 2012.
If the rumors are true, Aiken, who came out as gay in 2008 with a cover story in People magazine, would be running in a state that recently approved a state constitutional ban on gay marriage in 2012.
Aiken has until Feb. 28 to file his candidacy in order to participate in the primary, which will be held on May 6.
Houston Barnes, a Democratic lawyer in the state, has already declared in the race. And former state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco has also said that he plans to challenge Ellmers.