Clay Aiken hits the air with first ad

Former "American Idol" star Clay Aiken (D) is back on the air with the first ad of his uphill House campaign.

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Aiken spotlights his rough childhood before talking of his work for children.

"When my mother escaped my violent father we slept on the floor of this living room. She worked nights at Sears and bought clothes at the thrift store. That life led me to become a special ed teacher for children with autism, and now my foundation helps children with special needs in 35 states," he says in the spot, a reprisal of his campaign announcement video. "I'm running for Congress, and I approve this message because every child deserves a chance, but too many in Washington are letting them down."

Aiken is facing a competitive three-candidate primary to face Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) in a heavily Republican district. The first round of voting is in two weeks, and if no candidate wins 40 percent, a runoff will take place in June.