Clay Aiken, the openly gay former "American Idol" star, is running for Congress as a Democrat in a conservative North Carolina district.
Aiken said Wednesday he will seek the Democratic nomination for the seat currently held by Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers, according to The Associated Press
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The openly gay Aiken, a runner-up on "American Idol" in 2003 who has released six albums since then and appeared on Broadway and on reality television, is brand-new to public office.
Some Democrats wonder if his freshman bid has any chance in such a conservative district.
The 35-year-old Aiken is expected to face former state commerce secretary Keith Crisco of Asheboro and licensed professional counselor Toni Morris of Fayetteville in the Democratic primary.
Aiken has been a special education teacher in Wake County. He says he decided to put his entertainment career on hold and seek to represent the state's 2nd Congressional District.
He says he considers Washington to be dysfunctional and will focus on jobs and the economy and the importance of education.
Ellmers faces radio talk show host Frank Roche of Cary in the Republican primary.
Aiken's most public foray into politics came in February 2012 when he spoke out against North Carolina's constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage.
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