On Wednesday I saw the news that Clay Aiken was throwing his hat into the ring by announcing he was going to run as a Democratic candidate for a congressional seat in North Carolina.
First "American Idol," then "Celebrity Apprentice" and now Congress?
We were all first introduced to the gawky redhead from N.C. back in 2003 with the second season of "American Idol." He had an amazing voice, that southern politeness and charm and a sense of humor. Yes, I'll admit that I was one of those who had to be glued to the set that entire season hoping Aiken would win. I mean he did a great version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water." It was a little disappointing when he came in second, but I was sure he would do OK. And yes, I was one of those who taped almost every appearance Aiken made on TV after the season was over (still have them and haven't watched them in a decade) and bought the CDs he made throughout the years. But like every celebrity "mini-obsession" that I get from time to time - Val Kilmer, Joseph Fiennes, Benicio del Toro - where I would immediately want to watch everything that this person is in (or in Clay's case, listen to music he puts out), the excitement would pass. That's why I really haven't listened to any of Aiken's music in years and the videotapes of his appearances on the "Tonight" show and "Regis and Kelly" and other talk shows are collecting dust on a shelf.
So I didn't watch Clay's appearance on "Celebrity Apprentice" as well. That's mainly because I am just plain not interested in the show. But he's not just known for that. He's been involved with various projects throughout the years - creating the National Inclusion Project, accepting a UNICEF ambassadorship and serving a two-year term to the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.
So why not make a run for Congress?
Aiken is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2nd Congressional seat that is currently held by GOP Rep. Renee Elmers. He shot a video that revealed his bid. According to an article in the Associated Press, Aiken said in his video message, "For most Americans, there are no golden tickets - at least not like the kind you see on TV. More families are struggling today than at any time in our history, and here in North Carolina, we've suffered more than our share of pain."
But he will have a little competition in the form of former N.C. Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco and licensed counselor Toni Morris in May's primary. Aiken's focus will be on jobs, the economy and education (he has a degree in special education). In the video, Aiken said in the video he's not a politician and doesn't want to be one, but he wants 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."
According to the AP article, a political researcher in N.C. said that Aiken has a decent chance to win the primary, but the "district boundaries drawn by Republicans will make it difficult for any Democrat to win in November."
So do we see a Rep. Aiken in our future? It can be possible. We'll just have to wait until May to see if he survives the primary.