Political junkies, celebrity watchers and fans of Clay Aiken across the nation reacted to news from the Washington Blade today that the North Carolina “American Idol” season two runner-up may be considering a bid for Congress.
The Blade, the nation’s oldest LGBT newspaper, broke the story, with mainstream political sites, celebrity blogs and local media following.
Two unnamed Democratic sources told the Blade Aiken may be considering a run to challenge Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers for her Second Congressional District seat. The district encompasses some of Raleigh, where the 35-year-old singer was born and lives, and several other portions of southeastern North Carolina.
From the Washington Blade:
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the 35-year-old Raleigh native has taken initial steps for a run, including consulting with political operatives in Washington, D.C., about a bid for the seat.
One Democratic source said Aiken made phone calls to gauge support, talked to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and has met with figures in Raleigh, N.C., about a potential bid. Although it’s unclear when Aiken might formally announce a decision, the source said Aiken is “actively considering” it and “sounding and acting like a candidate.”
To help explore a run, the source said Aiken has been working with Betsy Conti, a Raleigh-based political strategist who’s worked for former North Carolina Gov. Bev Purdue and Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore in addition to serving as Maryland’s deputy labor secretary in the Glendening administration. It’s unclear whether Aiken has formally hired her or anyone else to help with his bid.
Another Democratic source said Aiken was in D.C. last month meeting with pollsters at Hart Research Associates to examine polling data with one of the partners at the firm.
The DCCC hasn’t responded to multiple requests to comment about a potential Aiken candidacy in the past few weeks. Neither Conti nor the Hart Research Associates responded to the Blade’s request for comment on Thursday.
Aiken himself was unable to be reached for comment. A Los Angeles-based management company known as the Firm, which reportedly represented Aiken for his music career in the last decade, didn’t respond to a request for comment.