Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) is exuding confidence in regards to her upcoming congressional race, where she faces singer Clay Aiken of “American Idol” fame. And Aiken’s near-celebrity clout isn’t intimidating the North Carolina Republican, who said she’s up against a guy who couldn’t even win a reality television show.
During an interview with Washington, D.C.’s, WMAL, on Wednesday, Ellmers spoke about her most recent challenger for North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional district, “American Idol” runner-up Aiken. Aiken, known for his appearances on several reality television shows, is one of at least three Democrats vying for Ellmers’ seat, but the congresswoman doesn’t seem to view the singer as a threat.
“Apparently his performing career is not going so well, and he’s very bored,” Ellmers said. “As we know, he didn’t really fare all that well. He was runner-up.”
WMAL hosts Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor sought to clarify Ellmers’ competitive statement.
“You are saying that Clay Aiken couldn’t even win ‘American Idol’ and his career is in the toilet, so that’s why he’s now desperately trying to get to Congress,” O’Connor said.
Aiken competed in the singing competition in 2003, placing second behind Ruben Studdard. The North Carolina-based singer had a brief stint in the music industry after his near-win and then appeared on Donald Trump’s “The Celebrity Apprentice,” where he came in second behind talk-show host Arsenio Hall— again.
Ellmers capitalized on what is shaping up to Aiken’s repeated history with losing.
“You know, you can throw in there that he also didn’t win during his, what was it, ‘Celebrity Apprentice.’ I guess the next step is Congress,” Ellmers said. “You know, we don’t have a very high approval rating so I guess, you know, the bar is lowered for him.”
Aiken announced last month he planned to enter the congressional race in Ellmers’ district, where he faces two confirmed primary challengers. President Barack Obama lost the Republican-leaning district by 15 percent in the 2012 election.
Listen to Ellmers’ interview below. Her comments about Aiken begin at around 6:08.