Clay Aiken Launches Campaign Contribution Website
North Carolina offers clues as to why Democrats have little chance to retake control of the House from Republicans in the 2014 elections. An unpopular president in his sixth year in office combined with a divisive health care law are a drag on Democrats and energize core Republican voters in what are traditionally low-turnout midterm elections.
Ellmers, a 50-year-old nurse first elected in the tea party wave of 2010, captured 56% of the 2012 GOP primary and the general election vote in her district. That year, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won nearly 6 in 10 votes in the district and narrowly defeated Obama statewide.
So precisely drawn were the state's new congressional districts, and so unpopular is Obama in the state that Rep. Mike McIntyre in December dropped his re-election plans. McIntyre represented North Carolina's 7th Congressional District for nine terms and is the only Democrat in Congress who has never voted for the Affordable Care Act, Obama's health care law.
Clay Aiken Announces Run for Congress
But North Carolina's rightward shift hasn't stopped Aiken and two other Democrats from competing ahead of the May 6 primary for the right to challenge Ellmers in November. National Democrats and their supporters are expected to pour money into the top-of-the-ticket race to defend the seat held by Sen. Kay Hagan and the party's six-seat Senate majority.
Also running in the 2nd District's Democratic primary are textile entrepreneur Keith Crisco and Tony Morris, a licensed family counselor. Crisco and Aiken are touting their credentials as centrists.
Former ‘Idol’ Clay Aiken Shines in 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat'
"I don't care what party they're in," Aiken says of voters in the central North Carolina district, "I'll talk to whoever."
Aiken believes he can tap into voters' dissatisfaction with Congress. And he said reporters are the only people asking whether being a gay man could impede his campaign to represent such a conservative district.