Used To Competition, Clay Aiken Announces Candidacy for Congress in North Carolina

This is not misprint or a joke, it's official. Clay Aiken, former American Idol runner-up, announced his candidacy for Congress on Wednesday morning. The 35-year-old Democrat is vying for the seat currently held by Rep. Renee Ellmers. Aiken posted his campaign announcement video on his website, where he talks about growing up in North Carolina and his work as a special education teacher for students with autism.

"I'm not a politician. I don't ever want to be one," Aiken says, with no apparent sense of irony, in the promo. "But I do want to help bring back, at least to my corner of North Carolina, the idea that someone can go to Washington to represent all the people, whether they voted for you or not. And maybe we can play a small part in igniting that change across the rest of our country. This is why I'm running for Congress."

The nearly five-minute video is set in Aiken's childhood home, where he says he and his mother stayed in an attempt to escape from his abusive father. He gives a nod to his American Idol days while acknowledging issues his state's residents are going through.

"For most Americans, there are no golden tickets. At least not like the kind you see on TV. More families are struggling today than at any time in our history. And here in North Carolina, we've suffered more than our share of pain."

Politics isn't a foreign arena for Aiken. In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed him to a two-year term on the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. As Bustle reported:

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.

In early February, incumbment Ellmers bashed Aiken's attempt to run for office, saying she wasn't threatened and that he was "bored."

"I'll tell you, I'm a little hurt. I think he has an incredible voice and he's incredibly talented, and I would rather have his support," she says in an interview with WMAL. "...As we know, he didn't really fare all that well. He was runner-up...He also didn't win on ['Celebrity Apprentice']... so I guess the next step is Congress. You know, we don't have a very high approval rating so I guess the bar's been lowered for him."

Looks like this race is already getting dirty. What past flubs might surface during the singer's campaign? Maybe this borderline creepy single from his 2003 album, Measure of a Man.