In 2003 a young, skinny red-headed man stepped on to the American Idol stage and earned himself 12 million votes across the nation. The man’s name is Clay Aiken, and he is running for office. Rather than 12 million he will be looking for roughly 200,000 votes to win himself a seat in congress as a representative of a rural area of North Carolina. As a democratic, openly gay candidate, Aiken is aware of the challenges he will face. “I’ve always been an underdog,” says Aiken. “I walked into that audition on American Idol and people went, ‘what?’ I get that.” Nevertheless, Aiken has been campaigning fervently. Recently, he visited a high school football game and was regaled by the cheerleading team who chanted “When we say vote, you say Clay. Vote. Clay. Vote. Clay!” As for whether Aiken will be providing vocals for his campaigning efforts, the budding politician has voted not to sing until he wins. In fact, win or lose it is unclear whether Aiken will ever be able to go back to the microphone ever again, “”It’s something that I had to recognize before I decided to run that in addition to having to give up what I was doing for the year, that very possibly I might have to give it up for good,” says Aiken.
Contributor: Phoebe Roe