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Clay Aiken officially files to run for North Carolina congressional seat

It's official. Clay Aiken, the Season 2 runner-up on "American Ido" and the Season 5 runner-up on "Celebrity Apprentice," is hoping name recognition and solid stances on issues ensure he doesn't place as a runner-up as he makes a run for a congressional seat. The North Carolina native officially filed the documents required to run for office in his home state.

The Associated Press reported Feb. 27 that Aiken filed the paperwork at the State Board of Elections Thursday that makes him eligible to seek the 2nd District seat. He will first try to secure the Democratic nomination in the state's party primary, then, if successful, attempt to dislodge Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers.

Clay Aiken rose to national prominence during the second season of the popular singing competition reality show "American Idol" where he ultimately finished second to Ruben Studdard. That, however, did not stop Aiken for besting Studdard in first album sales (2.7 million to 1.7 million) and overall album sales (5 million to 2.5 million).

Aiken also did a stint on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" where he was the last contestant to hear the words "You're fired!" from Donald Trump in the show's fifth season.

He also had a run on Broadway as well, starring in the "Monty Python's Spamalot."

And he's no stranger to politics, either. He's been politically active and vocal, especially in the past few years. He was also appointed to the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities in 2006 by President George W. Bush.

His video announcing that he was running for a North Carolina congressional seat was released on Feb. 5 and has garnered nearly 600,000 views to date. He says he's not a politician, but he wants to effect change in Washington.

Aiken came out as gay in 2008 but says he doesn't think that his sexuality will matter to voters. "I am comfortable with myself. I am comfortable with the campaign we're running," Aiken told the Associated Press. "I am positive that people are going to vote for the person who they think will do the best job, who they think can win in November."

But those in his district might hold it against him that he's a Democrat. In the last election, the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney defeated President Barack Obama by 18 percentage points.

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