Former American Idol star Clay Aiken has officially announced his bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the second district of North Carolina.

The seat is currently held by Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers.  (Some may remember the videotaped message that Ellmers made in 2010 for readers of Legal Insurrection).

In a video posted at his campaign website, Aiken talks about his background outside of just American Idol.  He recounts his personal story of childhood affected by domestic violence, and discusses his time teaching special education students, then going on to work with groups like UNICEF.

Aiken claims he realized that people will need to work together to solve our problems.

“I’m a Democrat,” Aiken said on the video.  “But it was when I was appointed by President Bush to serve on a special presidential commission to address the educational challenges of children with special needs. That was when I first realized that our problems won’t be solved by only one party or the other. But instead, it’s going to require all of us.”

And then, Aiken promptly took aim at Ellmers.

“The district where I’m running is represented by a congresswoman who I believe went to Washington with good intentions. I’d like to think that people don’t go there with anything else. But even though she knew that voting for massive cuts to the military was bad for our country and for our district, she voted for them anyway, 10 times, after her party leaders told her to. And when her party leaders told her to vote for the government shutdown, she did, 21 times, even though she said herself it would be a disaster for the economy, and then she complained that she needed her paycheck.”

“…This is what’s wrong with Washington, that a congresswoman would go there and vote against the best interests of North Carolina military families and those who depend on the military for their jobs. To do it when you know it’s wrong is even worse, and to do it because your national party told you to, well that’s what in the end convinced me that if I didn’t try to do something about it, then I couldn’t complain that no one else did. I’m not a politician. I don’t ever want to be one, but I do want to help bring back, at least to my corner of North Carolina, the idea that someone can go to Washington to represent all the people, whether they voted for you or not.”

Aiken faces two primary opponents, while another intends to withdraw from the race and support Aiken, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Aiken’s decision has already reshaped the field. Houston Barnes, a young attorney who lives in Durham, plans to announce Wednesday that he is withdrawing from the race and supporting Aiken.

That leaves former state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco of Asheboro and licensed professional counselor Toni Morris of Fayetteville as Aiken’s primary opponents.

Aiken was first runner-up in the second season of American Idol.  The winner in that contest was Ruben Studdard.

WAJ ADDS: Renee Ellmers was on our original 2010 Operation Counterweight list. She challenged and defeated long-term incumbent Bob “Who Are You” Etheridge.

Here’s a video Mrs. Ellmers made for Legal Insurrection readers when her campaign was in its infancy, and no one gave her a chance:


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