Clay Aiken is back in the limelight now that he’s running for congress. The former American Idol contestant is campaigning for a seat in congress for the state of North Carolina. The self-proclaimed progressive broke the news to his fans on Twitter. “Can you believe it’s been almost 20 years since I first got to share my voice with you? That’s a long time. A LOT has changed! We need powerful voices more than ever, so I’m running for Congress. And my voice is even stronger now! ;-)” he wrote along with a video of him reintroducing himself to the world.
Can you believe it's been almost 20 years since I first got to share my voice with you? That's a long time. A LOT has changed!
We need powerful voices more than ever, so I'm running for Congress.
— Clay Aiken (@clayaiken) January 10, 2022
The North Carolina native hopes to be “the South’s first gay congressman,” as he stated in his campaign video. He also addressed stopping climate change, systemic racism, gun violence and bills that suppress voter rights while championing free healthcare and “women’s right to choose.” Clay has until May 2022 to sway voters his way for the primary. Until then, here’s everything you need to know about the man who may be filling Rep. David Price‘s seat.
1. Clay Almost Won ‘American Idol.’
Clay Aiken is best known for competing on Season 2 of American Idol. He had an impressive run on the show and almost won the whole thing. However, he came in second place and was a runner-up to Ruben Studdard. It all started back when Clay auditioned for the show in Atlanta, Georgia singing the song “Always and Forever” by Heatwave. He managed to avoid landing in the bottom three for the entire competition due to his power ballads ability and transformation from geek to chic throughout the course of the season. Even though he lost out to Ruben, he went on to record a number of albums including Measure of a Man and A Thousand Different Words. His most recent album is titled Steadfast and it was recorded in 2012. Some of his biggest hit singles include “Invisible,” “This is the Night” and “A Thousand Days.”
2. Clay Has Run For A Government Position Before.
This isn’t Clay’s first political campaign rodeo. He previously ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014 but lost. At the time, he was considered a longshot since he was running for a position previously dominated by Republicans in a conservative district. This time around, his position was previously held by Democrat David Price. He has made it clear that politics is where his focus these days over music. His social media pages are filled with political commentary. Recently, Clay mocked former President Donald Trump following his loss in the 2020 election. Clay joked that he tried to win more votes after he lost American Idol but it didn’t work for him either.
3. Clay Has One Kid.
Clay is the father of his 13-year-old son named Parker Foster Austin. Clay and his friend and sister of David Foster, Jaymes Foster conceived Parker via in vitro fertilization and Jaymes gave birth to Parker on August 8, 2008. “The little man is healthy, happy, and as loud as his daddy,” he wrote on his blog at the time. “Mama Jaymes is doing quite well also.” Aside from announcing his birth, Clay tends to keep Parker out of the public eye.
4. Clay Has A Foundation For Children With Special Needs.
In 2003, Clay launched a foundation for children with special needs called the Baubel/Aiken foundation that advocated for inclusion for children with special needs. By the time 2009 came around, he changed the foundation’s name to the National Inclusion Project which still runs to this day. “EVERY child can participate, EVERY child can make a friend and EVERY child can succeed. With those beliefs in mind, we’ve made it our mission to make the inclusion of children with disabilities the EXPECTATION, not the exception,” according to the site’s mission statement. “We work with community organizations and recreational programs, providing them with the training, tools, and support they need so that children with disabilities can be included in ALL of their activities and programs.”
5. Clay Was On Broadway.
Clay had a brief stint on Broadway in 2008. Clay graced Broadway’s Shubert Theatre’s stage as Sir Robin in Monty Python‘s Spamalot. When he was first cast, the musical’s director Mike Nicols raved about Clay’s talent. “Clay Aiken is amazing beyond that glorious voice. Turns out he is an excellent comic actor and a master of character,” said in a release to Playbill. “People will be surprised by his wide ranging talent, since the first impression is of great country charm and a singer to remember. This guy is not only a star, he is a lot more. We are lucky to get him for Spamalot.”