Former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken is strongly considering a run for Congress against incumbent Republican Renee Ellmers in North Carolina's Second Congressional District, and the two-term Representative is not impressed.
In a recent radio interview, Ellmers mocked Aiken, pointing out that if he couldn't win American Idol or Celebrity Apprentice, how could he stand much of a chance for Congress? She took particular note of his finish on the 2003 season of Idol, saying “As we know he doesn’t always fare all that well. He was runner up.” Ellmers also jibed that Aiken was running because "Apparently his performing career isn’t going so well and he’s bored."
It's unusual for Ellmers to take such pointed jabs at a candidate who still has a competitive primary, yet alone even formally filed for office. While Ellmers represents a district that has been made relatively safe for Republicans through redistricting, local Democrats reportedly prefer that Aiken not run, seeing an openly gay pop star as a political liability in a rural southern district. Instead, party elites have gathered around to support Keith Crisco, a 70-year-old former state Commerce Secretary from Asheboro who has already declared that he will challenge Ellmers. However, it may be possible that she's simply trying to build Aiken up in order to make it more likely that she faces off against the pop singer in the Novemeber general election.
Aiken still has a few more weeks to make his decision. North Carolina's two-week-long filing period for federal candidates starts on Feb. 10.