Clay Aiken, a former contestant on 'American Idol,' is running for Congress in North Carolina.
Clay Aiken wishes to use his voice for purposes other than music.
The "American Idol" alum revealed Monday that he will compete for a Democratic-leaning congressional seat in North Carolina's Research Triangle region in this year's midterm elections.
"I'm running for Congress in this community because it was here that I first discovered my voice," Aiken stated in a campaign kickoff video.
Aiken, who finished second in the popular talent show's 2003 incarnation, has stated his desire to become the Deep South's only out gay member of Congress in order to push back against homophobic right-wing authorities.
"If the loudest and most venomous voices believe they can speak for us, simply inform them that I'm warming up the old vocal cords," Aiken added.
He ticked off a laundry list of progressive Democratic principles, including abortion, voting rights, and advancing the cause of social equality.
However, he stated that Democrats must be a "broad tent" party in order to solve the country's problems, implying that he would serve as a centrist voice in a left-leaning House caucus.
Aiken lauded Rep. David Price, a 30-year Democratic veteran who is retiring and leaving the seat up this year.
He faces a crowded Democratic primary in what would be a reliably Democratic district that includes the liberal cities of Durham and Chapel Hill, as well as portions of suburban Raleigh. Numerous well-known state legislators are also vying for the seat, which represents a well-educated demographic that is likely to continue to lean Democratic in the near future.
Republican lawmakers redesigned the district as one of only three firmly Democratic seats out of 14 overall seats in North Carolina, despite the state's swing status.
The state Supreme Court is ready to rule on a lawsuit challenging the plan, but any new map is expected to include a similar Democratic-leaning district in the Research Triangle that Aiken might run in.
Aiken waged an improbable campaign in a 2014 long-shot bid to beat a Republican incumbent in a far more rural district in central North Carolina.