Former “American Idol” star Clay Aiken wants to represent North Carolina in Congress.
On Monday, Aiken announced that he is making a second bid for a congressional seat from North Carolina, this time seeking the Democratic nod in a more liberal district than eight years ago.
The Raleigh native previously ran for the U.S. House of representatives in 2014 and now plans to run this year in the Durham-centric House district that’s now open.
“As a loud and proud Democrat, I intend to use my voice to deliver real results for North Carolina families,” Aiken said on his website.
The 6th Congressional District also includes Chapel Hill and other Orange County communities currently represented by long-serving Rep. David E. Price, who announced in October that he would not seek reelection this year.
“The people in the Triangle gave me the platform that I have, and I wanna use it to give back to them,” Aiken told the News and Observer in a written statement. “I want to be a loud voice for the Triangle when I get to Congress, I will tell you that. And we need a big voice.”
Aiken explained that Price is responsible for getting him into politics. “One of my first experiences in politics and government was asking Congressmen Price to speak to my eighth-grade class — an invitation he graciously accepted,” Aiken shared on his website. “He is a legendary legislator who has delivered from the Triangle for over 30 years and leaves big shoes to fill. I’d be honored to take his place.”
Before Aiken won second place on American Idol in 2003, he was a special-education teacher. Since his involvement in the show, Aiken has released several albums, appeared on Broadway, hosted a Christmas special on Television, and served as a UNICEF ambassador.
In 2002, the singer was also a runner-up on “The Celebrity Apprentice,” the reality show hosted by Donald Trump.
During the 2016 presidential race, Aiken defended Trump against accusations of racism, citing his time on the show with him. After the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville the following year, Aiken apologized for defending Trump.
As a member of Congress, Aiken said that he would advocate “inclusions, income equality, free access to quality health care and combating climate change.”
“I also believe we need more civility in our politics, and North Carolina deserves representation in Washington who use their positions to make people’s lives better, not to advance polarizing positions that embarrass our state and stand in the way of real progress,” Aiken stated on his website.
The Democrat also claims that he will use his voice to secure voting rights, free health care, and a women’s right to choose.
The former singer is expected to face a competitive primary. According to the Washington Post, the Democrat who wins will be heavily favored in the general election.