The Washington Post

American Idol star considering run for Congress

Recording Artist and American Idol 2 runner-up Clay Aiken. (Frederick M. Brown - GETTY IMAGES) Recording Artist and American Idol 2 runner-up Clay Aiken. (Frederick M. Brown - GETTY IMAGES)

Former American Idol star Clay Aiken is considering a run for Congress, according to a person who has been in contact with Aiken.

Aiken's potential candidacy against Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) was first reported by the Washington Blade.

The Blade reported that the 35-year old singer has been meeting with political types in Washington and North Carolina to weigh a bid. Post Politics has confirmed that Aiken met with former Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who no longer conducts polling for political candidates. Hart is not working for Aiken.

Ellmers is not considered a top Democratic target. She comes from a district that gave President Obama less than 42 percent of the vote last year, making Aiken's task a tall one.

North Carolina has elected a famous Democrat to a conservative Congressional seat, though. Former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler served three terms in a district in the western part of the state before retiring last year.

Aiken finished second on American Idol in 2003 and has since emerged as one of the most commercially successful Idol competitors.

In terms of public policy, he has focused on issues like mental disabilities, having been appointed to the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities by George W. Bush, as well as gay rights. Aiken came out as gay in 2008.

The DCCC declined to comment on Aiken specifically.

"Congresswoman Ellmers is responsible for the most unpopular and reckless Congress in history that's put the middle class at greater risk, but it's up to potential candidates to talk about whether they're interested in running for Congress, not us," DCCC spokesman David Bergstein said.

Correction: This post initially said Shuler won the Heisman Trophy. He finished second in 1993.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.



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