ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Ministry of Gossip

'Idol' alum Clay Aiken running for Congress; announces via video

This is one contest in which Clay Aiken really doesn't want to finish second: The singer is running for Congress, aiming to represent a district in North Carolina.

Aiken, 35, who finished a close second to Ruben Studdard in the second season of "American Idol," announced his candidacy Wednesday via YouTube, Twitter and his own official website.

He'll have to make it through a Democratic primary to take on the incumbent, Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers, who also has a primary challenger in what's reportedly a GOP-leaning district. One candidate has already dropped out of that Democratic primary race to support Aiken, the Charlotte News & Observer reported, so the singer is currently running against two other primary candidates. 

Hey, at least it's fewer than the thousands of challengers he faced to make it on "Idol," right? No phoning in votes, however. And yes, he's already asking fans to donate to the effort.

Aiken, who is openly gay and raising a son, positioned himself in the video as someone who's definitely from outside the Beltway.

"I'm not a politician. I don't ever want to be one," he says with a slight chuckle. "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."

In the video he focuses on his childhood as the son of a struggling single mother who had to leave her husband because of domestic violence, and highlights his experiences teaching and working on an education task force during George W. Bush's administration.

He also takes a few shots at Ellmers, 49, who has represented North Carolina's 2nd congressional district since 2011, specifically taking aim at her voting record on military cuts and the government shutdown. 

"Idol" buddy Studdard, who on Tuesday night debuted a dramatic weight loss on "The Biggest Loser," tweeted Wednesday: "Please support my friend @clayaiken!" along with a link to a story about Aiken's campaign moving from the realm of gossip to reality.

In her Twitter feed on Wednesday morning, Ellmers was focused on supporting the Keystone XL pipeline.

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