Former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken, 35, is running against Republican incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers, 50, for the seat representing North Carolina’s Second Congressional District. Ellmers, a former surgical nurse, defeated seven-term Democratic incumbent Bob Etheridge in 2010 by 1,489 votes, confirmed after a recount. Aiken and Ellmers will debate on Monday, October 6. It will be taped and broadcast at 7 p.m. on WRAL and at 11 p.m. on WRAZ.
Aiken was born and raised in Raleigh, NC. He sang in the Raleigh Boychoir and performed the national anthem numerous times for the Raleigh IceCaps and the Carolina Hurricanes hockey teams. He attended UNC at Charlotte and was working at the local YMCA when he first auditioned for American Idol. He became a father in August 2008, and came out as gay the next month. “When people see him [Aiken], they’re curious about him because he’s a celebrity, but they’re impressed with how smart he is,” said Democratic analyst Gary Pearce.