Clay Aiken for Congress? Locals may decide

Jan. 06, 2014 @ 04:40 PM

Singer Clay Aiken, the performer first made famous on “American Idol” 11 years ago, may run for Congress this year in a district that includes voters in the greater High Point area. 

Reports recently in publications such as The Washington Post and The Washington Blade say that Aiken, who grew up in Raleigh, may run for the 2nd Congressional District seat held by Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers. The district’s northwestern border includes most of Randolph County, including parts of the county within the High Point city limit and the cities of Archdale and Trinity.
Aiken, who hasn’t addressed the speculation publicly, would have to make a decision about running by the end of next month. The candidate filing period for this year’s congressional elections in North Carolina takes place from Feb. 10-28.
The High Point Enterprise wasn’t able to reach a publicist or other representative with Aiken on Monday.
If Aiken seeks the Democratic nomination in the 2nd District, it would mark the 35-year-old performer’s first bid for elected office. Aiken has been involved in causes, such as supporting the global relief agency UNICEF and advocating for people with mental and physical disabilities.
Aiken’s most public political role in the state took place two years ago when he opposed Amendment One, the measure passed by voters to mandate in the N.C. Constitution that marriages in the state only are between one man and one woman. Aiken, who is gay, appeared on the CBS News program “Face the Nation” in the spring of 2012 to object to Amendment One, which passed with 61 percent of the vote in May 2012.
If Aiken runs, political analysts say he — or any other Democratic challenger — would face an uphill task against Ellmers. Though voter registration in the district is nearly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, the 2nd Congressional District leans conservative in its political makeup. Ellmers won her second term in 2012 with 56 percent of the vote against Democratic challenger Steve Wilkins of Moore County.
A spokeswoman for Ellmers’ re-election campaign told the Enterprise that the congresswoman has no comment at this time on Aiken’s possible candidacy.

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2nd District coverage area
The 2nd Congressional District covers all or part of nine counties. They are: Randolph, Alamance, Chatham, Moore, Wake, Lee, Harnett, Hoke and Cumberland. Voters in Randolph County make up about 18 percent of the total voters in the 2nd District.
The district is served by Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, who’s in her second term.
Source: N.C. General Assembly redistricting website