American Idol alum Clay Aiken on
Monday announced his second bid for Congress as a Democrat.
Aiken announced in a video he would
pursue the Democratic nomination for North Carolina's 6th
congressional district. Representative David Price, a Democrat first
elected to the House in 1986, announced late last year that he was
“For decades, North Carolina was
actually the progressive beacon in the South,” Aiken said in the
video. “But then things changed, and the progressives lost power,
and we started getting backwards ass policies, like the voter
suppression bills and the bigoted bathroom bill.”
Aiken lost his 2014 run for Congress to
incumbent Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers after narrowly
winning the Democratic nomination.
Aiken, who came out gay in 2008 –
five years after his second-place Idol finish – on the cover
of People magazine, said in his announcement video that “the
loudest voices in North Carolina politics are white nationalists
like” Representative Madison Cawthorn, a Republican.
He also took a swipe at North Carolina
Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson, a Republican and vocal opponent of
LGBTQ rights, calling him a “hateful homophobe” and other
Republicans, including Representatives Marjorie Taylor Green of
Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado.
“[T]hese folks are taking up all the
oxygen in the room,” Aiken said. “And I could tell you, I am sick
“Just think how excited these guys
are going to be when we elect the South's first gay congressman,”
Aiken said, referring to Cawthorn and Robinson, who are pictured in
front of rainbow flags.
“Make 'em proud,” he added with a
After coming out, Aiken became an
advocate for LGBTQ rights, in particular marriage rights for same-sex