Clay Aiken is running for Congress as a Democrat in North Carolina. This marks the second time the American Idol runner-up has campaigned for a congressional seat, following his unsuccessful bid to join the House of Representatives in 2014.
“Can you believe it’s been almost 20 years since I first got to share my voice with you?” Aiken wrote on Twitter to announce the campaign. “That’s a long time. A LOT has changed! We need powerful voices more than ever, so I’m running for Congress. And my voice is even stronger now!”
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
Aiken will be running in the 6th district, a region that contains the Durham area. The seat is currently held by Rep. David Price, who has had the job since 1997 (and also served from 1987-95). He will be retiring in 2022. The primary is set to take place in May.
Following the announcement, Aiken spoke with Variety about the campaign plans, explaining why he wants to represent his home state in Congress.
“Things don’t get done because too many people are too busy constantly at each other’s throats,” Aiken noted of his hopes for the election run. “I think a little civility would be nice. A lot of voters want civility. For whatever reason, people in Congress, people in the Senate, people in state houses, don’t seem to be able to provide that. I’ve got enough attention. I don’t need any more. I’d like to do something for the area that put me in the position that I’m in.”
He added that he hasn’t ruled out singing on the campaign trail, which he refused to do during his 2014 run. “I don’t really think of many instances where I would want to hear someone sing when they were running for office,” Aiken said. “But if we find ourselves in a situation where truly that’s what people want to hear, then, you know, I may not say no as adamantly this time as I did last time.”
If elected, Aiken will become the first openly gay member of Congress from the South.