• 52°

Aiken officially joins N.C. congressional race

Associated Press
RALEIGH — Former “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken officially filed Thursday to run for Congress in North Carolina, saying that he wants to help end the gridlock in Washington and that no single political party has all the answers.
The performer, a Democrat, turned in his paperwork at the State Board of Elections to seek the 2nd District seat currently held by Republican Renee Ellmers. Aiken, who lives in the Raleigh-Durham area, announced his bid three weeks ago and must first try to win the Democratic primary less than 10 weeks away.
The 2nd District, which covers all or parts of nine counties west and southwest of his native Raleigh, is considered Republican-leaning. But Aiken said the district’s voters want to choose the candidate who believes “we’re not going to have success just based on one party or the other — that we all have to work together.”
“They are enthusiastic about seeing change,” he added later.
Aiken, who finished second to Ruben Studdard in TV’s 2003 “Idol” competition, became a back-home sensation a decade ago, with supporters called “Claymates” a common sight at his concerts.
On Thursday, the 35-year-old Aiken surrounded himself with family and former teachers while speaking to reporters. While shunning the politician label, Aiken said he’s been interested in politics for a long time. He recalled how in the early 1990s he interviewed U.S. Sen. Terry Sanford for a project and invited U.S. Rep. David Price to his Raleigh school. Price is still in Congress.
“Every parent says their child is going to be president one day,” said his mother, Faye Parker, adding she “used to tell him, ‘Use your voice.’ I don’t think this is what I was thinking, but he’s using his voice.”
Aiken said lowering unemployment and veterans issues are among his top priorities. He said he thinks some changes can be made to President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law but doesn’t want to repeal it.
The candidate filing deadline is Friday. So far, former state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco of Asheboro and licensed professional counselor Toni Morris of Fayetteville also are seeking the Democratic nomination. Without mentioning Aiken’s filing, Crisco campaign spokesman Aaron Fiedler on Thursday said his candidate is working the district and that Crisco’s public- and private-sector experience in job creation means he “can hit the ground running” if elected.
So far, Aiken’s campaign has raised more than $100,000. Crisco gave his campaign a $95,000 loan late last year. Ellmers, who also faces a party primary, had $260,000 in her campaign coffers as of Dec. 31.
A Web video announcing Aiken’s campaign Feb. 5 has received several hundred thousand hits on YouTube. Aiken said he’s not anxious about whether rough politics are ahead, saying he’s been through a lot the past decade. He’s also released albums and performed on Broadway.
Aiken announced in 2008 that he’s gay and has a son conceived through in-vitro fertilization with a female friend. He’s said he doesn’t believe his sexual orientation will play a role in whether people vote for him.
“I am comfortable with myself. I am comfortable with the campaign we’re running,” Aiken said. “I am positive that people are going to vote for the person who they think will do the best job, who they think can win in November.”

Comments

Comments closed.

Nation/World

House easily passes stopgap funding bill, averting shutdown

News

Supreme Court vacancy looms large in 2nd NC Senate debate

Coronavirus

Additional COVID-19 death reported in Rowan; Cooper announces small business relief

Crime

Asheville man charged with heroin possession following traffic checkpoint

Education

Susan Cox conceding school board race, putting support behind opponent

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools will survey families, stakeholders about next superintendent

Local

Library to reopen for in-person visits Oct. 1

Local

Rowan Sheriff’s Office K-9s to receive bulletproof vests

Crime

Man charged with sex offense, raping teen

Business

Commissioners receive analysis of county’s development application process

Crime

Man arrested in Spencer in connection with Charlotte murder investigation

Local

County government losing assistant manager, social services director

Education

RSS will collect information on full K-5 return

Education

KCS sees smooth transition back to classes, unlikely to transition to all in-person for K-5

Nation/World

Barrett emerges as court favorite; Trump to pick by weekend

Local

Tillis says Trump will extend offshore drilling pause to NC

Coronavirus

12% of all Rowan COVID-19 cases currently active

Crime

Blotter: Concord man faces drug charges after hotel disturbance call

Crime

Rockwell teen charged with rape of a 14-year-old girl

Crime

Police: Charlotte man caught stealing funeral home employee’s truck

Local

Rowan Social Services director takes new job in New Hanover County; Heidrick to retire

Ask Us

Ask us: Will masks be required in Rowan County polling locations?

Elections

Political Notebook: Tillis, Cunningham differ on when to fill SCOTUS vacancy

Local

Local state trooper, firefighter returns home after Army deployment