American Idol star Clay Aiken announced he is running for a Congress. Aiken, 43, is hoping to replace Rep. David Price (D-NC) who announced his retirement in October after representing the district since 1997. Aiken would become the first out LGBTQ+ official elected to Congress from the South according to at least one historian.
"The people in the Triangle gave me the platform that I have, and I 'wanna use it to give back to them," Aiken told The News & Observer in a written statement. "I want to be a loud voice for the Triangle when I get to Congress, I will tell you that. And we need a big voice."
\u201cCan you believe it's been almost 20 years since I first got to share my voice with you? That's a long time. A LOT has changed!\n\nWe need powerful voices more than ever, so I'm running for Congress.\n\nAnd my voice is even stronger now! ;-) #JoinTheChorus\n\nhttps://t.co/aQIm8a2xuZ\u201d
"There has never been an out lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans congressperson elected, from the South, in U.S. history," Andrew Reynolds, a former University of North Carolina political scientist who now teaches at Princeton University, told the News & Observer.
Aiken credited Price with initially inspiring his interest in politics, and said it would be an honor to replace him.
"One of my first experiences in politics and government was asking Congressman Price to speak to my eighth grade class -- an invitation he graciously accepted," Aiken posted to his website. "He is a legendary legislator who has delivered for the Triangle for over 30 years, and he leaves big shoes to fill. I'd be honored to take his place."
The singing star said he will focus his campaign on "some basic stuff," such as climate change, systemic racism, universal health care access, voting and abortion rights, and more.
"This is some basic stuff I'm talking about here," Aiken told the News & Observer. "Basic things that should be done -- stuff that must be done -- a lot of stuff that could have been done already if politicians would get off of Twitter and get off their asses and actually do what we sent them there to do."