Pop star and openly gay American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken today formally announced his candidacy for the U.S. House.
Aiken portrays himself as someone who is not a politician. He emphasizes his personal story – growing up in a home torn apart by domestic violence – and says it inspired him to be a voice for the powerless. He began on that path by teaching special education students in Wake County and – after a detour in the entertainment world – working with UNICEF. After months of exploring a Congressional bid, he recently decided to put his entertainment career on hold and run. “I saw this as the best place I could serve, because I think Washington, in general, is dysfunctional,” Aiken said. “I think it’s high time we put people in Congress who were not beholden to their party, and not beholden to anything but the people who they live around and grew up around, in my case.” Aiken, 35, said jobs and the economy will be important campaign themes; specifically, emphasizing education as a way to get people back to work, including through adult job retraining programs.
RELATED: Aiken came out in 2008. He has scored five Billboard top five albums, including his #1 full-length debut, 2003’s Measure Of A Man. That album yielded the #1 pop single, This Is The Night. If elected, he will join the late Sonny Bono as the two members of Congress to have achieved a #1 pop single. Bono’s came in 1965 with Cher for I Got You Babe.