Clay Aiken: Who is the American Idol star taking another run at Congress?

Singer previously ran and lost North Carolina race in 2014

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Monday 10 January 2022 20:26

American Idol star Clay Aiken taking another run at Congress

American Idol star Clay Aiken has announced he is taking another run at Congress.

The singer is targeting a seat in his home state of North Carolina, where he ran and lost eight years ago.

Mr Aiken, who finished second on American Idol in 2003 to Ruben Studdard, will run as a Democrat to replace Democrat David Price in the state’s 6th District.

“As Democrats we have got to get better about speaking up and using our voices, ‘cause those folks ain’t quieting down any time soon,” he said in his announcement video, referring to the likes of Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Mr Aiken, 43, was defeated in his 2014 bid for Congress by then-Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers.

This time around he is running in a Democratic-leaning district, but faces competition for the nomination from state senators Wiley Nickel and Valerie Foushee.

Mr Aiken, who is a former teacher from Raleigh, North Carolina, said in his announcement video that “a lot has changed” for him since his American Idol days.

“I came home. I came out. I became a father,” he said.

“These days my life looks a lot more like yours than Justin Bieber’s, that I can promise you. But one thing that has never changed for me is how much I love my home state.”

His campaign say he would be the first openly LGBT+ member of Congress elected from the South.

His website says that his political platform includes a focus on “inclusion, income equality, free access to quality health care, and combating climate change”.

Mr Aiken would not be the only celebrity trying to win a political seat in 202 as TV personality Dr Mehmet Oz is running as a Republican for US Senate in Pennsylvania.

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