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Clay Aiken officially announces run for Congress

Clay Aiken officially announces run for Congress

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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Henry Hawkins | February 5, 2014 at 6:40 pm

I am so embarrassed for my state.

    At least his first move was to disavow Obama. He is a good kid. Let’s hope he does not more into Barney Frank.

    NC Mountain Girl in reply to Henry Hawkins. | February 6, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Doesn’t this remind you a bit of football’s Heath Shuler in 2006? The local hero then expressed a deep longing to serve the people of North Carolina in a bipartisan fashion. Detractors said Shuler, then working n real estate, only wanted to see his name in the headlines again.

    The detractors had a point. Faced with a tough reelection battle in 2012 Shuler handed off to an aide, who then got creamed in the general election. Shuler waltzed out of Congress into a lucrative job running the Washington DC office of Duke Energy. So much for the virtues of the simple mountain life.

Sorry Clay, I voted for Ruben.

Think of the children. Send us [more] money.

I wonder if he believes in spontaneous conception as do his Democratic brethren.

Renee Ellmers will probably win re-election but I’m not surprised she’s being challenged; she only drew 54 percent of the vote in the last election. During the government shutdown last year she only went against her local Tea Party supporters who voted for her in 2010 and 2012. And notice too that as soon as she got to Congress she closely allied herself with Boehner and Cantor.

Ellmers is just like that Noem from SD—use the TP to get elected then sign up with the RINO’s. When Boehner loses his speakership in the coming coup, I guess she’ll realign her lack of courage and convictions with the ones who brought her to the dance. Nevertheless, I hope she beats Aiken soundly. The last thing we need is more guys like him there. Just shut up and sing, Clay. I didn’t vote for either you or Ruben.

We already gots us ’nuff idle Americans.

He’s hoping there are enough fellow travelers in the closet in that district to make a difference. I doubt it.

He should just move to Chicago and follow the bath house footprints of Barry Jugears.

BannedbytheGuardian | February 6, 2014 at 12:03 am

There is something wrong with that room. I like the wall colour , the floor , the windows & the shabby sofa., even the chair. However it looks fake . I know no gays who are minimalists .

The door should not be next to a fireplace as it would lose all retained heat.

I also don’t know who the guy is but he looks a bit limp.

“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.”

What he (and any other Democrat) means by that is “and the Republicans will have to do things the way we say they need to be done or the problems won’t be solved. Ipso facto.”

BannedbytheGuardian | February 6, 2014 at 4:06 am

Yeah – it is not perfect .The room needs some black .

I know let’s replace Clay & put a black dude there .T’would look quite good & he would get more votes.

Such a shame minstrels are out of fashion . Which reminds me I was recently researching. -a NC songwriter who wrote ‘ she’s a cousin of mine ‘ . An early vaudeville version is on YouTube .

“There’s a scandal in the neighbourhood

And it’s all about Julie Brown ……”

Nc has great songwriters.

BannedbytheGuardian | February 6, 2014 at 4:44 am

Sorry I just can’t take this seriously . I have just come off reading that Chuck Shumer is upset that Russia won’t let some Chobani Yoghurt into Sochi for the US athletes. He told them in no uncertain terms it wad approved by some dept . Russia said Stfu.

it’s all about balance…..South Cackalack has Lindsey, NC can have Clay

Aiken is, he says, gay, but he’s raising a child. Nothing in his campaign so far has explained to me where the child came from. Gay marriage is not legal in North Carolina.

I don’t understand why he’s running for Congress rather than a school board.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | February 6, 2014 at 9:40 am

In the last presidential election the exit polling showed that Obama destroyed Romney with the question, “who cares more about people like me”. Some analysts went so far as to conclude that the answer to the one question decided the election (I don’t agree but that idea is out there).

Aiken’s entire video (too long at nearly 5 minutes) is about making you first be sympathetic to him and then liking him. Everybody is sympathetic to a guy who was raised under the troubling conditions he described, then he tailored his message to make people in his district like him. Fort Bragg is a huge military installation so hammering Ellmers for voting to cut defense is going to resonate at least with the military in his district, who generally tend to favor Republicans.

I firmly believe that Democrat economic policies are destructive to the country’s long term economic prosperity and that is why I have never voted for a Democrat. EVER. But they know how to manipulate people into buying the crap sandwich they are selling.

“I’m a Democrat… 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.

There’s been a whole lot of “…requiring all of us” inflicted by the horde of economic and constitution illiterate, grandstanding, petty tyrants that run as Democrats.

Can’t decide what’s worst.

That I’m required to pay extortionary fines for not buying Obamacare or that I’m required to listen to Aiken’s music in the doctor’s waiting room.

NC Mountain Girl | February 6, 2014 at 10:34 am

Aiken has cleverly positioning himself, especially for this district. He has a couple of problems, though. There are no Statewide contests on the Democrat primary, which means it could be a low interest primary. Celebrity candidates tend to do better in high interest, presidential year primaries where they pick up a lot of votes from those who don’t really care much about the race involved but recognize the name.

It comes down to how many voters will turn out just to vote for Aiken. His timing may be bad this way. We could be coming to an election that sees a shift in the Zeitgest away from the politician as celebrity. It began with JFK, who at least seemed to have an ironic sense of detachment about the media hype. Obama, who is detached but not in any way that can be seen as ironic, may have taken the idea of politician as celebrity as far as it can go. The moment of the empty resume but first rate media image seems to be fading. Note the recent buyer’s remorse about Mitt and the way people are looking beyond Wendy Davis’s cute pink shoes to her past as the modern update of the CW song Lucille. While incumbents may be in for a tough time on 2014, voters are probably going too be looking for evidence of political competency not media popularity and the need to self aggrandize.

NC D-2 is largely rural and chock full of country folk not likely to vote Aiken. D-2 is about 30%, but there’s nothing about Aiken to excite that demo, and plenty for them to reject (black southern Baptists are not big fans of the gay agenda). Part of the metro area of Raleigh is included, but I don’t think there’s enough ‘blue’ there to carry Aiken over likely poor rural numbers.

Aiken is a novelty candidate and has overreached by going for a US congressional seat instead of local school board or county commissioner where he could scrub off some of the Hollywood celebrity ick and actually do some government before going for the brass ring. Aiken is famous, but not in the good way that would help in a campaign. He has great name recognition, but it’s as a bit of a freak, a gay stroller (as opposed to crusader) who apparently struggles outside the limelight though he’s presented little reason to remain in it since Idol.

Media light = media heat, and I suspect our young Icarus is about to burn.

There’s a nice tidbit available to the Ellmer’s campaign via the Arsenio Hall Show where Clay Aiken is ostensibly responding to the recent Duck Dynasty ‘anti-gay’ thing, but inadvertently makes an incredible statement about free speech – he believes it should be restricted to prevent hate speech:

“I think the thing that frustrates me the most is that there have been people who’ve come out today and said, ‘It’s free speech, it’s free speech,’” Aiken continued. “And I would ask them … if the person had said something about interracial marriage, or said that we should put all children with disabilities in institutions, would we still say, ‘Well, that’s free speech, we’re okay with that opinion?’ And I think the answer is no.”

The idea that Aiken feels qualified to pass judgment on the free speech and opinions of others will not play well in Mayberry, which is what 90% of NC District 2 is.