If anyone knows how to win over the voters, it is Clay Aiken. The former “American Idol” runner-up, who lost the singing competition to Ruben Studdard, won over many fans, which carried over to his singing career. Now he is hoping to shed that fame in his bid for a North Carolina congressional seat. As Reuters reports on Friday, Aiken is gaining the respect he has been seeking.
When Aiken decided to run for the Democratic nomination his home state’s 2nd congressional district, he did so in hopes of serving the people. His knowledge of the political atmosphere and his ability to address the issues has made him a candidate to be reckoned with. But unlike any other candidate, Aiken has the challenge of changing how he is perceived in the public. The 35-year-old doesn’t want to be looked at as just another entertainer making an attempt at politics.
As the election approaches next Tuesday, Aiken has been able to remain focused on his efforts to defeat U.S. Representative Renee Ellmers for the seat. He has been successful in tucking away his singing voice in favor of his political voice. Aiken told Reuters, “I have done my very best not to sing because I think there’s a challenge…to get people not to see me as a singer but instead as someone who is capable and wants to fight for them.”
Aiken also makes it known that LGBT issues are not the reason he is running. Equality is certainly one of the people, but if elected he wants to serve all people in the best way he knows how. Still, because of his celebrity status, he faces an uphill battle, but a battle he will definitely learn from as he partakes in future campaigns.
But for now, he has not only gained respect, but has also drawn support from the person he lost the “American Idol” crown to. Ruben Studdard released a radio message defending his pal. In the message he says, “I’m proud to call him my friend, but you’ll be proud to call him your congressman. Now one of his opponents is attacking him for now showing up for some meetings. Truth is, Clay’s dedicated his life to helping people with disabilities.” Studdard ended his spot saying, “Congress needs more people like him.” That’s also the kind of idol America needs.