Singer and former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken officially announced on Wednesday that he will run for Congress against Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) in North Carolina’s 2nd District. The announcement was made via a video posted on his campaign website. He’s been hinting at making a run at Ellmers for more than a month now.
Ellmers is a two-term Representative who got herself into office in the great Tea Party sweep during the 2010 midterm elections. At that time, she defeated longtime Democratic incumbent Bob Etheridge by less than 1%. Her campaign was noted for using hateful and bigoted rhetoric throughout. She made national headlines when she used a campaign ad condemning the Park51 project in Manhattan. While it was an obviously racist and anti-Muslim commercial, it most likely fired up the Tea Party base in her district to come out and vote. She was also endorsed by none other than Sarah Palin.
Ellmers has since stayed in the spotlight by saying and doing stupid things. During the government shutdown last year, she stated that she would not forego her paycheck because she needed it, even though she supported shutting down the government and denying pay to hundred of thousands of workers. The gun-loving Republican who eschews any and all gun regulations also had to deal with the embarrassment of having to admit that her AR-15 rifle was stolen from her home.
In his announcement, Aiken made a few key and poignant comments.
“I am not a politician. I never want to be one. But I do want to 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…The years I spent as a special education teacher for students with autism was my first window into the difference that a person can make in someone’s life…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.”
Also, perhaps in an attempt to appeal to moderate and independent voters, Aiken pointed out that Ellmers has not been a friend to the military during her tenure in Washington. Besides highlighting her numerous votes to cut funding to the military, Aiken also said that Ellmers just does what her party leaders tell her to do, which is why she voted to shut down the government 21 times. He also made sure top get a nice little dig at Ellmers by mentioning that she complained that she needed her paycheck while she was cutting off the pay of others. Overall, it was a well done campaign kickoff video that did a good job of introducing Aiken to North Carolina voters.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).