Former “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken will run for Congress in North Carolina’s Sixth District, he announced Monday.
Aiken, who appeared on the second season of the hit show, ran in 2014 against Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers in the state’s Second District, losing by 17 points. The new Sixth District, currently represented by retiring Democrat David Price, gives Democrats a 42-point advantage, according to FiveThirtyEight. North Carolina’s new congressional districts are currently the subject of a lawsuit filed by two left-wing groups that argue the map is an example of partisan and racial gerrymandering. (RELATED: ‘It’s Racially Gerrymandered’: Long-Time Democrat Blames New District Map For Retirement)
In his announcement video, Aiken asserted that North Carolina was formerly “the progressive beacon in the South,” but that “today it seems like the loudest voices in North Carolina politics are white nationalists” and “homophobes,” while pointing to Rep. Madison Cawthorn and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, both Republicans.
Can you believe it’s been almost 20 years since I first got to share my voice with you? That’s a long time. A LOT has changed!
We need powerful voices more than ever, so I’m running for Congress.
— Clay Aiken (@clayaiken) January 10, 2022
“As Democrats, we have got to get better about speaking up and using our voices,” Aiken added. “Because those folks ain’t quieting down any time soon. That’s why I’m running for Congress, here in this community that raised me and where I first discovered my voice.”
Aiken appeared on The Celebrity Apprentice in 2012, where he finished second to Arsenio Hall. Early in President Donald Trump’s tenure, he pushed back against charges of racism toward the former president. However, Aiken later called himself a “dumbass” for defending Trump.