RALEIGH, N.C. — 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 in less than 10 weeks.
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 said.
Aiken, who finished second to Ruben Studdard in TV’s 2003 “Idol” competition, became a sensation a decade ago, with supporters called “Claymates” a common sight at his concerts.