It’s official: Clay Aiken is running for Congress.
Aiken, a North Carolina native who made a name for himself as the runner up on American Idol, announced Wednesday that he will run as a Democratic candidate in his state’s Second Congressional District.
In a video accompanying the announcement, Aiken glossed over his music career, and instead discussed his hardscrabble upbringing and abusive father.
“So much of who I am was shaped in those early years and it’s part of why I decided to run for Congress,” the openly gay pop star said in his announcement.
“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,” he said. “And here in North Carolina, we’ve suffered more than our share of pain.”
Of the Second District incumbent, Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers, Aiken said he believes she “went to Washington with good intentions,” but then voted the way her party’s leadership “told her,” specifically for the government shutdown.
“This is what’s wrong with Washington,” says Aiken. “That a Congresswoman would go there and vote against the best interests of North Carolina military families and those who depend on the military for their jobs. To do it when you know it’s wrong is even worse.”