The Corner

American Idol Runner-Up Launches Congressional Bid

Clay Aiken is hoping for a better result than his second-place finish in the second season of American Idol. On Wednesday, the Raleigh-born singer announced he would challenge Republican Renee Ellmers for North Carolina’s second congressional district seat.

In his video, Aiken discussed his upbringing, his mother’s struggles with her abusive husband, his time as a special-education teacher, and the “golden ticket” that led his success on American Idol. But he also took shots at Ellmers, blaming her for military cuts and last fall’s government shutdown, and vowed he would be different.

“I’m not a politician — I don’t ever want to be one,” Aiken said in the video. “I do want to help bring back, at least to my corner of North Carolina, the idea that someone can go to Washington to represent all people whether they voted for you or not.”

After finishing as a runner-up on American Idol in 2003, Aiken has released seven albums, appeared in various television shows and plays, and served as a UNICEF ambassador. Ellmers was elected to Congress in 2010, and won her most recent election by 15 percentage points.

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