An American Idol runner-up announced Monday, January 10, that he would run for Congress in North Carolina.
In 2003, 43-year-old Clay Aiken took second place in the second season of the reality singing competition. He later switched to a career in politics. In 2014, Aiken won the North Carolina 2nd Congressional District Democratic primary. However, he later lost to Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers.
Now Aiken tries again. This time he seeks to take the seat of the resigning Democratic Representative for the 4th District of North Carolina, David Price. In the predominantly democratic district, the winner of the democratic primary is almost guaranteed to win the parliamentary elections. However, Aiken must first defeat several challengers in the primary.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, other candidates announced include Nida Allam, Durham County Commissioner, Senators Wiley Nickel and Valeri Foushee, and virologist Richard Watkins.
In one Video Aiken announces his bid for Congress, starting with his past as a reality TV contestant. “Most of you probably remember me that way … thin,” he says, nodding to a photo of him singing on “American Idol.”
Much has changed for him in the nearly twenty years that have passed since his time with American Idol, he explains. “I came home, I came out, I became a father. Nowadays my life is much more like yours than Justin Bieber’s, I can promise you that, ”says Aiken.
The singer and politician doesn’t just think about how his Life has changed in the last two decades. He also talks about how the daily lives of all Americans (Facebook and Twitter, for example, were invented) and politics in North Carolina have changed.
“North Carolina was actually the progressive beacon in the south for decades. We had the best roads and the best schools, because back then the loudest voices in our government were progressives who actually made sure that our state always moved forward. But then things changed, ”says Aiken of a stool in the video.
He cites a wave of “backward-a ** policies” mentioning voter suppression and the “bigote bathroom bill”. Aiken then referred to North Carolina Congressman David Madison Cawthorn as a “white nationalist” and the state lieutenant governor, Mark Robinson, as a “hateful homophobe.” North Carolina Senator Jeff Jackson called on Robinson to resign in October after a video of the lieutenant governor calling homosexuality and transgenderism “filth” was posted on Twitter.
“These people take all the oxygen in the room and I have to tell you, I’m sick of it,” says Aiken. “As Democrats, we need to get better at raising our voices and using them. Because these people are not going to calm down anytime soon … if the loudest, hateful voices think they are speaking for us, just tell them I’m warming up the old vocal cords. “
At the end of the video, Gay Pride flags with the faces of Robinson and Congressman Madison Cawthorn are lowered from the top of the screen. “Just think how excited these people will be when we elect the South’s first gay congressman,” says Aiken.
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