2003 American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken is making a bid for national political office in his home state of North Carolina, hoping his star power can unseat a Republican incumbent for the Democrats.
Aiken announced his candidacy with a campaign website and video on 5 February but it had gone largely unnoticed until he made a guest appearance on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report to discuss why he is running for office.
Colbert is a fellow Carolinian, hailing from South Carolina, and his sister Elizabeth Colbert Busch unsuccessfully tried to unseat that state’s Republican Governor last year as a Democrat.
Colbert demanded to know why openly gay Aiken was running for office in a traditionally conservative state, asking, ‘Who the hell do you think you are, you Hollywood liberal, coming into North Carolina with your San Francisco values?’
‘I think people are very fed up with the kind of tone deaf representation they’ve had,’ Aiken said in reply on why he was running.
‘There are people who are hurting now and nothing’s getting done in Congress because nobody wants to work together.’
In the interview Aiken said that he was a supporter of same-sex marriage but would be primarily campaigning on bread and butter issues like veterans’ issues and unemployment.
At the end of the interview Colbert tried to get Aiken to sing the American national anthem but he refused – saying he was on a sabbatical from his singing career.
Aiken came out publicly as gay in September of 2008 and has a son with his female friend and producer Jaymes Foster.
Watch Aiken’s campaign video below