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'American Idol' runner-up Clay Aiken aims for Congress again

Clay Aiken is running to represent the 6th

Clay Aiken is running to represent the 6th Congressional District in North Carolina. Credit: Invision / AP / Matt Sayles

Former "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken announced Monday he's running for Congress again in North Carolina, this time seeking to succeed the retiring U.S. Rep. David Price.

In a video announcing his bid in the 6th District, Aiken said he's joining the already crowded field for the Democratic primary, which has been delayed from March to mid-May due to litigation.

Aiken, 43, has had a career in music, theater and reality shows — in addition to political and social activism — since finishing second to Ruben Studdard on the TV singing contest in 2003.

"Hey, folks. It’s been awhile. Now, I know I look a little different these days, but we’ve met before," he says in the video.

Aiken won the Democratic nomination for a largely rural central congressional district in 2014, edging former state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco. But he lost in the general election to then-Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers, receiving 41% of the vote.

While that district was comfortably Republican, the proposed 6th District that Aiken is running in is overwhelmingly Democratic. It includes all of Orange and Durham counties — home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University, and very affluent western Wake County.

Aiken, who grew up in North Carolina and now lives in the Raleigh area, said he'd work to promote inclusion, provide free, high-quality health care and fight climate change.


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