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. Renee 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.