Clay Aiken at the Broadway opening of "After Midnight" on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP) File: Clay Aiken (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Hey, isn’t that… Former American Idol runner up Clay Aiken, munching on a pastry at the Bean and Bite coffee shop in downtown D.C.?

Eleven years after losing the sing-off to Ruben Studdard, Aiken has his eyes on another contest: a 2014 congressional race. He’s running as a Democrat in North Carolina, and tells us he’s in D.C. to meet with folks who might help him along the way (including the National Education Association).

Experts say the race is going to be a real uphill battle, but if past is precedent, maybe coming in second will be better for his career anyway.