Clay Aiken Wants to Represent NC’s 2nd Congressional District—Welcome to the Bizarre!

Clay getting a spot on The Last Word with 1Lawrence O’Donnell is cool—but it won’t necessarily help him where it counts—in the 2nd Congressional District.

I thought I could get through life without ever having to blog about Clay Aiken—well, I was wrong.  It seems the once famed American Idol singing celebrity wants to unseat Renee Ellmers in the 2nd NC Congressional District.  Here we go…like we don’t  have enough media covering the Tarheel state already.

While I’ve never been fond of celebrity personalities and their political agendas—Democrat or Republican—having Aiken run for Congress may not be that bad of a thing.  And, even if I thought it was a bad thing, I guess I’ll just have to learn to live with the idea, huh? Clay seems smart, passionate in his beliefs and full of energy.  But, that by itself isn’t enough to get you elected in Ellmers district.

The pros and cons of Aiken

Pros—there’s only a few, but they’re important.

He can shed some media light on a very conservative Republican, Tea Party led district in the heart of North Carolina.  I think for Democrats, that will be a good thing. 

He’s probably passionate about issues that will galvanize progressive Democrats.  But, I’m just guessing here, I haven’t read a single article that sheds any light on where Aiken stands, politically.  And, even if he rallies the progressive troops in the 2nd Congressional District—which are  the voters that will be able to elect him, so what?  How many people are we talking about?  Maybe 5,000 progressive Dems in the whole district.

And, finally, I think a pro is that Aiken has enough cash to be competitive in this race—assuming he’s willing to pony up with his own money.

Cons—there are many

Take a look at the map of the 2nd NC.  For Clay, it’s not going to be pretty.  imageRenee Ellmers’ district is a R+8—which means it is very heavily made up of Republican voters and the “+8” means that a typical Republican candidate should win by an 8 point margin.  So, even if he wins the primary, it’s an uphill battle to the finish line against any Republican.

Aiken has no political experience. I haven’t heard of him doing anything political-ever.  The only political info on him is a 5 minute YouTube video explaining why he’s running for Congress.  And, there’s a fundraising page on what seems to be his political website—but, even that doesn’t make a lot of sense because other than the “click button” to donate—there’s nothing else on the website.  I’m sure that will change, but if he’s already serious about asking people to donate to his campaign—you’d think he’d give us a clue as to where his head is at on the issues.  The whole thing seems sort of bizarre. 

Aiken has one other Democratic challengers in the primary (the other one pulled out yesterday—which shows logic).  The other Dem left has more political experience—and frankly, would be better at weathering the Tea Party storms that seem to pop up like springtime tornados around here.

And, finally the biggest con is probably the people around him running his campaign.   Clay has major name recognition in NC—and he should be able to attract the top political bulldogs to push his candidacy along.   The question will actually come down to this: is Clay running his campaign or is his campaign running him?  But, you would think a vetted campaign staff would have developed his website before he announced—and made it public on the same day of his announcement.  Secondly, if you’re trying to get votes in an American Idol contest—YouTube may be the way to go—but press conferences are much better at announcing political campaigns.  Again, the way he announced and frankly—the whole thing—is a little bazaar.  But, it’ll be fun to watch for a while.  Pop some corn and pull up a chair—this show might actually be good. 


About George Fisher

George is a freelance writer, an author and a Democratic political consultant. He has worked as Deputy Communications Director for a Senatorial campaign and Campaign Manager for several NC House races and one congressional race. He previously worked as a news producer for a local television station.
This entry was posted in Clay Aiken, Congress, Connections with George Fisher, Election Cycles, GOP, MSNBC, NC GOP, NCDP, North Carolilna Politics, North Carolina, North Carolina Democratic Party, Renee Ellmers, Tea baggers, Tea Party Roots and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Clay Aiken Wants to Represent NC’s 2nd Congressional District—Welcome to the Bizarre!

  1. barbdant123 says:

    Well one thing is for sure, it will be interesting.  Who was the person that pulled out?  No name is coming to mind.  But then it is early. lol  Good article and thought provoking.   Where are all the qualified Democrats?

  2. George Fisher says:

    Houston Barnes pulled out yesterday.

  3. Good arguments, but your point about the skewed political nature of the 2nd district is pretty strong evidence that a more typical candidate wouldn’t have a chance there. And Clay’s experience as a special ed teacher puts him higher in my mind than any lawyer or businessman, and certainly higher than Elmers. He’s popular, and that will help with turnout and the independents.

    • George Fisher says:

      Your point is well taken–maybe the 2nd does need someone like Clay to take the seat. I will say that now that Aiken is running–you’ll see a much more conservative “Tea Party” candidate run against Ellmers. And, I’m afraid the guy they (TP) have in mind is a nightmare.

  4. I think Clay Aiken is EXACTLY what the 2nd District needs right now. After the mess that has been Renee Elmers, Clay will actually stand up for folks who are being hurt by the GOP on the national and especially the state level.

    I KNOW George agrees with me on this. He is just doing something that a lot of progressives, liberals and Democrats DON’T DO…either by omission or by ignorance. George is looking at the situation rationally and seeing the potential problems before they get here.

    I just told George that the way Clay wins is people stop whining and attacking people on the same side as them, get behind Clay and get him through the primary. THEN, as it should be, we as Democrats get behind our nominee and GET OUT THE VOTE!!!

    *microphone drop…off the stage*

  5. Good points. I, too, was surprised to see his website etc. weren’t ready to roll on time. Also, while he handled CNN and The Last Word appearances pretty well, he stumbled thru 5 minutes with Chuck Todd when actually asked about specific issues (the Pacific trade agreement debate, which he admitted not knowing much about *ouch*, among others). Being a celebrity candidate, he has no room for error…

    • George Fisher says:

      David–thanks for sharing this. The Chuck Todd interview is exactly what I’m talking about: his handlers. I’ve seen this happen at every level of politics–when you’re that high up on the food chain, you can afford the best bulldogs to prep you. Those bulldogs have egos. Major egos! Somebody dropped the ball. You’re totally correct that “being a celebrity candidate, has no room for error….”

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