American Idol Runner Up Aiken Running for Congress in North Carolina

January 11, 2022 by Dan McCue
American Idol Runner Up Aiken Running for Congress in North Carolina
Clay Aiken

DURHAM, N.C. — Two decades after coming oh so close to winning the 2003 edition of  “American Idol,” Clay Aiken is running for Congress as a Democrat in North Carolina.

“Can you believe it’s been almost 20 years since I first got to share my voice with you?” Aiken tweeted Monday, as he announced his bid.

Acknowledging how much water has flowed under the bridge in that time, the singer and actor said “A LOT has changed!”

“We need powerful voices more than ever,” he said, “So I’m running for Congress.”


This will be Aiken’s second run for Congress. He won the 2014 Democratic primary in North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District, but was handily defeated in that year’s general election by Renee Ellmers, who received 59% of the vote to Aiken’s 41%.


But many political observers say this could be Aiken’s year. In 2014 he ran in a mostly rural, conservative county and was considered a long shot when he entered the race.

This year he’s running in North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses the more metropolitan and suburban Durham area, which is seen as more favorable to Democrats.

The seat is currently held by Democratic Rep. David Price, who announced in October that he would not be seeking re-election in 2022.


Though Aiken has national name recognition, he is expected to face stiff competition in the Democratic primary, with already declared competitors that include state Sens. Wiley Nickel and Valerie Foushee and Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam, the first Muslim elected to public office in North Carolina. The primary takes place in May.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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