If at first you don’t succeed, try again eight years later.
Singer-songwriter Clay Aiken, best known for finishing second on “American Idol” nearly two decades ago, announced Monday that he would run for Congress as a Democrat for a second time after being soundly beaten in a 2014 House race.
In a video announcing his candidacy that was posted on his Twitter account, Aiken told potential voters that “these days, my life looks a lot like yours than Justin Bieber’s, that I can promise you.”
“But one thing that’s never changed for me is how much I love my home state,” Aiken added. “North Carolina is the place that I discovered first that I have a voice and that it was a voice that could be used for more than singing.”
Aiken, 43, is seeking to replace Rep. David Price, a Democrat who announced his retirement in October, in the redrawn 6th Congressional District, which includes Chapel Hill.
In his announcement video, Aiken remarked that North Carolina “was actually the progressive beacon in the South” at one time.
But now the “loudest voices” in North Carolina are “white nationalists like this guy,” said Aiken, showing a video clip of Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn speaking at the pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” rally shortly before the Capitol riot.
Aiken went on to display photos of Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, saying, “These folks are taking up all the oxygen in the room and I’ve got to tell you, I am sick of it.”
“As Democrats, we have got to get better about speaking up and using our voices, because those folks ain’t quieting down anytime soon,” the Raleigh native said.
On his campaign site, Aiken said he would campaign on inclusion, income equality, universal access to health care and fighting climate change. He also promised to bring civility back to politics, saying, “as my mom taught me: ‘You can disagree without being disagreeable.’”
“North Carolinians are worried about affordable health care and rapid inflation. They are worried about their retirement savings and are frustrated by crowded interstates and infrastructure that hasn’t kept up with our rapid growth,” he said on the site. ”These are the issues that matter, and these are the issues I will focus on in Congress.”
Aiken previously sought to represent North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District, losing to Republican Renee Elmers in 2014 by more than 17 percentage points.