Clay Aiken makes second bid for House seat, says concerned about 'white nationalists' in NC politics

The American Idol runner-up ran once before in North Carolina's 2nd district

Updated: January 10, 2022 - 12:24pm

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    Clay Aiken, the one-time "American Idol" runner-up, on Monday announced a bid for Congress.

    The singer is hoping the second time's the charm for his political aspirations – in 2014, he launched an unsuccessful congressional campaign in North Carolina's 2nd district.

    The singer, 43, is entering the race for the open seat in North Carolina's 6th district. He will compete as a Democrat. The seat is being vacated by North Carolina Democrat Rep. David Price, who announced his retirement last year.

    The performer says he is hoping to change some of his state's "backward ass policies."

    "For decades, North Carolina was actually the progressive beacon in the South. 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," said Aiken in a campaign announcement video.

    "Today, it seems like the loudest voices in North Carolina politics are white nationalists like this guy," said Aiken showing a clip of North Carolina GOP Madison Cawthorn.

    Aiken is launching his bid nearly eight years after his first attempt, during which he unsuccessfully challenged then-GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers.

    "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," he said, adding that he would be the first openly gay congressman from the South.