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American Idol Clay Aiken considering run for U.S. House in North Carolina

Aiken, a gay rights activist who finished second in the popular singing contest in 2003, is reportedly considering a run against GOP U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers.

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

north-carolina mugRALEIGH, North Carolina (CFP) — American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken is reportedly considering making a bid for North Carolina’s 2nd District U.S. House seat in 2014.

American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken

American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken

Two Democratic sources familiar with Aiken’s plans told the Washington Blade newspaper that Aiken has been in discussions with Democratic campaign operatives about a race against incumbent U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, a second-term Republican.

Aiken, 35, a Raleigh native, has not publicly confirmed that he plans to run in the 2nd District, which takes in part of the city Raleigh and suburban areas to the south and east.

Two Democrats are already running in the 2nd District — Houston Barnes, an attorney from Durham, and former State Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco.

Ellmers, a former nurse who was elected in the Republican wave of 2010, is facing a primary challenge from Frank Roche, a conservative radio talk show host.

Armed with an endorsement from Sarah Palin, Ellmers won the seat in 2010 by less than 1,500 votes over the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Bob Etheridge, after a recount.

However, after Republicans took control of the state legislature, the 2nd District’s lines were redrawn to make it more Republican. Mitt Romney carried the district with 57 percent of the vote in 2012, so Democrats will likely have an uphill battle to flip the seat in 2014.

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