Clay Aiken launches second bid for Congress

Clay Aiken says he wants to change North Carolina’s “backwards ass policies” as the former “American Idol” star launches a second bid for Congress.

The performer — who was the runner-up on the second season of the reality TV singing competition in 2003 — announced Monday that he’s entering the race as a Democrat for the open seat in North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District.

Rep. David PriceDavid Eugene PriceWho has the guts to resist authoritarian rule?  Clay Aiken running again for Congress because North Carolina representatives 'don't represent me' On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood MORE (D-N.C.) announced his retirement last year from representing much of the area that’s part of the newly redrawn 6th District.

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“For decades, North Carolina was actually the progressive beacon in the South,” Aiken said in a video kicking off his campaign. “But then things changed, and the progressives lost power, and we started getting backwards ass policies, like the voter suppression bills and the bigoted bathroom bill.” 

“Because today, it seems like the loudest voices in North Carolina politics are white nationalists like this guy,” Aiken, 43, said, before playing a clip of Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.).

Showing images of GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green (Ga.) and Lauren BoebertLauren BoebertGOP Reps. Greene, Clyde accrue nearly 0K in combined mask fines Rand Paul cancels DirecTV subscription after it drops OAN Top House Democrat pushes for 'isolation boxes' for maskless lawmakers MORE (Colo.), Aiken told viewers, “These folks are taking up all the oxygen in the room and I’ve got to tell you, I am sick of it.”

“As Democrats we have got to get better about speaking up and using our voices, because those folks ain’t quieting down anytime soon. That's why I'm running for Congress here in this community that raised me and where I first discovered my voice.”

Aiken’s congressional bid comes almost eight years after he launched his first run for Congress in 2014 against then-Rep. Renee EllmersRenee EllmersClay Aiken launches second bid for Congress Former Rep. Renee Ellmers running for Congress again in North Carolina Cawthorn 'likely' violated rules by bringing candidate on House floor MORE (R-N.C.). He lost the race in the Tar Heel State’s then-Republican-leaning 2nd Congressional District.

If elected, Aiken said he would be the South’s first gay congressman. “If the loudest and most hateful voices think they’re going to speak for us,” Aiken said in his campaign launch ad, “just tell them I’m warming up the 'ole vocal cords.”