Entertainment

Former ‘American Idol’ Contestant Clay Aiken Announces Second Run For Congress

Clay Aiken, who came in second place in the second season of “American Idol” back in 2003, has announced that he is running for Congress for a second time. 

Aiken Running For Congress Again

The Hill reported that Aiken announced yesterday that he will be running as a Democrat for the open seat in North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District.

Rep. David Price (D-NC) had announced last year that he is retiring after most of the area he represented has become part of the newly redrawn 6th District.

“For decades, North Carolina was actually the progressive beacon in the South,” Aiken said in a video posted to his Twitter account. “But then things changed, and the progressives lost power, and we started getting backwards ass policies, like the voter suppression bills and the bigoted bathroom bill.” 

“Because today, it seems like the loudest voices in North Carolina politics are white nationalists like this guy,” he added, before playing a clip of Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) and showing images of GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green (GA) and Lauren Boebert (CO). 

“These folks are taking up all the oxygen in the room and I’ve got to tell you, I am sick of it,” said Aiken, 43. “As Democrats we have got to get better about speaking up and using our voices, because those folks ain’t quieting down anytime soon. That’s why I’m running for Congress here in this community that raised me and where I first discovered my voice.”

Related: ‘American Idol’ Finalist Caleb Kennedy Exits Show Amid Video Controversy

Aiken Wants To Make History

Aiken previously ran for Congress in 2014 against then-Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), and though he was not successful in that race, he will be the South’s first gay congressman if he wins this one.

“If the loudest and most hateful voices think they’re going to speak for us, just tell them I’m warming up the ‘ole vocal cords,” Aiken concluded in his ad announcing his campaign.

Related: Reba McEntire Weighs In On Kelly Clarkson’s Messy Divorce From Her Stepson

Aiken became a household name during his 2003 run on “American Idol,” coming in second to Ruben Studdard in the show’s second season.

Relive some of his best performances from the “American Idol” stage in the video below. 

How ‘American Idol’ Prepared Aiken For Politics 

In an interview with Variety, Clay Aiken talked about how “American Idol” prepared him for a political run:

“‘Idol’ was, in many ways, sort of a bootcamp to learn about how to take criticism it in front of 40 million people on live TV and be told you’re awful or told you’re good or told you look weird or whatnot — and learn how to shake criticism off.

Obviously, I had a lot of experience with being picked on and bullied before ‘Idol’ and since ‘Idol.’ It wasn’t the only time I got crap for something, but it certainly was an opportunity to learn what’s important and what you need to worry about and take seriously versus what’s superficial and what you don’t need to get your feelings hurt about. I think it gives you an opportunity to put things in perspective a little bit more.”

It will certainly be interesting to see how Aiken’s second run for Congress goes. Will he be successful, or will this end up like “American Idol,” with Aiken in second place? Only time will tell. 

James Conrad

James Conrad’s passion for politics is only overshadowed by his longstanding interest in Hollywood. His unique perspective as a gay conservative fuels him to challenge celebrity views and those who think they have a right to tell anyone how to think or vote. James proudly wields his minority point of view to combat identity politics and cut through his typecast. Fun fact: James’ guilty pleasure is the British royal family.

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