Clay Aiken Mulls Run for Congress (Report)

Openly gay “American Idol” runner-up could run in North Carolina

Clay Aiken may dedicate his knack for winning voters’ hearts to something besides “American Idol”: The runner-up on the show’s second-season is reportedly mulling a run for Congress in North Carolina.

The Washington Blade says Aiken, 35, has consulted with political operatives including Betsy Conti, a political strategist who worked for Al Gore and former North Carolina Gov. Bev Purdue. Conti is based in Aiken’s hometown of Raleigh. He would potentially seek the seat now held by second term Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers, the Blade reported.

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Aiken, who came out in 2008, has been active on LGBT issues for several years. In 2010 he spoke on Capitol Hill about anti-gay bullying.

Aiken would have to file by Feb. 28 at noon to run in the May 6 primary.

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Since coming in a close second to Ruben Stoddard on “Idol” in 2003, Aiken has toured extensively, authored the bestselling book “Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life,” produced a Christmas special, and placed second to Arsenio Hall on the fifth season of “The Celebrity Apprentice.”