The murmurs are true: Clay Aiken will today announce he is running for Congress. He'll enter a North Carolina Democratic primary whose winner will face incumbent Republican Renee Ellmers. He's running in the state's 2nd Congressional District as a political outsider, and intentionally so, the News and Observer reports. "I think it's high time we put people in Congress who were not beholden to their party, and not beholden to anything but the people who they live around and grew up around," he tells the paper, noting that a campaign focus will be education as a means of re-entering the workforce.
Aiken says domestic violence in his childhood drove him to fight on others' behalf (As Jezebel notes, the video announcing his run is "extremely emotional," and plays up his humble beginnings while largely ignoring that whole singing competition thing). He's already got the support of fans—"Claymates," as they're known—and one other Democrat who has elected to drop out of the race and back Aiken instead. Ellmers is already attacking the former American Idol contestant: "Apparently his performing career isn’t going so well and he’s bored," she said in a recent radio interview, noting that he'd only come in second on the show. In a statement via a rep, she called Aiken "a performer whose political views more closely resemble those of San Francisco than Sanford."