One of the best-known "American Idol" contestants has announced a bid for a seat in Congress. The Los Angeles Times reports that Clay Aiken, who finished second in the singing competition’s second season, is running as a Democrat in his native North Carolina.
"Aiken officially launched his campaign for the seat held by Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers on Wednesday, and he’s already issued a campaign video," the story reports. "In the nearly five-minute video [seen below] the 35-year-old pop crooner stands in a modest living room, saying it’s the home of a family friend who took him and his mother in years ago."
Aiken says in the video: "For most Americans, there are no golden tickets. At least not like the kind you see on TV. More families are struggling today than at any time in our history. And here in North Carolina, we’ve suffered more than our share of pain."
He criticizes Ellmers in the video — "albeit as nicely as expected of a Southern gent," the Times reports — singling out the lawmaker’s votes on the government shutdown and her stance on the military. "He also acknowledged his success in the music industry and how it opened the door for his humanitarian work," the story notes.
Aiken says in the video: “The district where I’m running is represented by a congresswoman who I believe went to Washington with good intentions." The Times adds: "It’s a potent mix of campaign cheese and down-home realness — but will it be enough to win the hearts of voters in North Carolina?"
Aiken finished a close second to Ruben Studdard on the "American Idol" second-season finale in 2003. In the years since then, the Times piece notes, Aiken "proved that losing ‘Idol’ could be just as lucrative. He has since released six albums, including a Christmas record, with all but one of them landing in the top 10. His last album, ‘Steadfast,’ was released in 2012."
Aiken was also on "Celebrity Apprentice," where he again finished second — that time to Arsenio Hall.
Here’s Aiken’s first campaign clip: