From "American Idol", Clay Aiken is attempting to make a transition to politic. The "Idol" season 2 runner-up announced on Wednesday, February 5 that he's running for Congress in his native North Carolina, campaigning for Democratic nominee to challenge Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers.
"I am not a politician," he said in a video put up on his campaign site. "I never want to be one. But I do want to bring back, at least to my corner of North Carolina, the idea that someone can go to Washington to represent all the people, whether they voted for you or not."
Of choosing North Carolina, the 35-year-old told NewsObserver, "I saw this as the best place I could serve because I think Washington, in general, is dysfunctional. I think it's high time we put people in Congress who were not beholden to their party and not beholden to anything but the people who they live around and grew up around, in my case."
Aiken took a jab on Ellmers who was elected in 2010. "She ended up in D.C. and was changed by it," he said. "I went to Hollywood and didn't let it change me. I won't go to Washington and let it change me." Ellmers herself has given a scathing comment for her new competitor. "Apparently his performing career isn't going so well and he's bored," she told a Washington radio station before Aiken announced his run.
Aiken saw it as flattery, telling NewsObserver, "I will say it's pretty sad that I didn't even get a chance to get into the race before the mud started being thrown around. That's not the kind of campaign I'm going to run. Maybe I should be flattered that she's worried enough she thinks she needs to stomp me down." Before facing Ellmers, Aiken will first have to compete against former state commerce secretary Keith Crisco and counselor Toni Morris for the Democratic primary.
Nathan Gonzales, deputy editor of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report, shared his view of Aiken's participation, telling CNN, "I think this will become the highest profile, non-competitive race in the country. If Aiken wasn't running as a Democrat in a Republican district in President Obama's second midterm, he might have a decent shot. Being on American Idol doesn't change the fact that he's a Democrat in a Republican district."