Clay Aiken Announces Congressional Bid

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images File Photo)

"American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken launched his bid for Congress on Wednesday morning as a Democrat in North Carolina's 2nd District.  

In a video message, Aiken says he is running against GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers because he feels she votes against the best interests of her constituents.  

"This is what's wrong with Washington," Aiken said in a video announcement on his website, ClayAiken.com . "That a Congresswoman would go [to Washington] and vote against the best interests of North Carolina military families and those who depend on the military for their jobs. To do it when you know it's wrong is even worse."  


Aiken grew up in North Carolina and was a special-education teacher before "American Idol "helped launch his music career. In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Aiken to the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.  

Aiken's announcement is not a surprise. He started building a team for his bid earlier this year, and his potential candidacy was met with some skepticism from North Carolina Democratic operatives.  

He is the third Democrat to announce a bid for the seat. Former state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco and attorney Houston Barnes have already entered the contest.  

The seat will be tough for any Democrat to win. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the district by a 16-point margin in 2012.  

North Carolina’s 2nd District is rated a Safe Republican  contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.