Former “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken is reportedly looking at a challenge to Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.).
According to the Washington Blade, the openly gay entertainer has spoken to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as well as prominent North Carolina Democratic strategist Betsy Conti, who worked for former North Carolina Gov. Bev Purdue and Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore.
Democrats believe North Carolina’s 2nd District could be winnable, as it was represented by a Democrat before redistricting made it more Republican, and Ellmers could face a primary challenge.
Akin would likely face a primary himself, if he decided to enter the race; former North Carolina Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco is expected to announce a bid officially this month. But his name recognition would be considerable, and the singer’s personal wealth would make it easy for him to invest in his own race.
Since his 2003 second-place finish in the singing reality television show, Aiken has emerged as a prominent activist for the rights of children with disabilities and, following his coming-out in 2008, for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.
He also served as a national ambassador for UNICEF starting in 2004 and has lobbied Congress to pass stronger protections for GLBT students.
North Carolina's filing deadline comes at the end of February.