Clay Aiken Running For Congress, Say Reports. Say What?

Looks like Clay Aiken, the runner-up on American Idol (and, less famously, Celebrity Apprentice) might be hoping to win another contest: the race for a congressional seat. Really. The Washington Blade reports that Aiken is "actively considering" running for the House of Representatives seat for North Carolina's 2nd congressional district.

Hang on. What?

Yeah, this is a thing. Two Democratic sources familiar with the situation told the Washington Blade that Aiken has started consulting with political figures in Washington and Raleigh about potentially running for the office currently held by Republican Renee Ellmers. The deadline to run for the seat is at the end of February, and primaries will be held May 6.

This is serious, guys. Aiken has reportedly been working with a political strategist known for having worked with Al Gore and former North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue. Apparently, Aiken's also met with a group of Washington polling analysts to look at polling data and assess whether a run would be a good idea — although the data show that Republicans are still likely to be favored in the midterm elections. But come on, guys! He's Clay Aiken.

ejSgIdol on YouTube

Surprising though it may seem, the run for Congress isn't totally out of nowhere. Aiken has long been a public activist: Since appearing on the national stage, he has co-founded the National Inclusion project to help disabled children, worked as a UNICEF ambassador, and taken part in movements against bullying and LGBT discrimination. He's even worked in Washington, appearing in 2010 at a Capitol Hill briefing on legislation to prevent the bullying of LGBT youth.

The openly gay Aiken would be a significant choice for North Carolina voters. In 2012, the state voted to ban same-sex marriages, and a sodomy law (which is, in practice, unenforceable) that remains on the state's books.