American Politician: Clay Aiken Wins Primary Race in NC…

…under unusual circumstances


Courtesy MCT Campus Service

Clay Aiken works with his campaign scheduler.

The state of North Carolina’s state elections board has confirmed that U.S Congressional candidate Keith Crisco died after a fall at his home in Asheboro.  As a snapshot of American politics, Crisco was a 71-year-old successful businessman in a tight contest against a (much younger) minor TV celebrity.

Clay Aiken, a runner-up  on the popular TV show American Idol,was competing against Crisco. Aiken was a contestant for American Idol in 2003, and eleven years later (February 2014) filed to run for the Democratic ballot in North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district.  A primary election was very close and has come down to absentee ballots which apparently gave Aiken the win.

Never on record has an American Idol contestant that made it past the top 24 entered politics or run in a congressional election, and Aiken may be the first for both. While Aiken’s campaign activities are on hold because of his opponent’s sudden death, he appears to have the highest percentage of votes, which will result in him facing Republican Renee Ellmers in the fall.  North Carolina is often considered to be a “red state” more favorable to Republican candidates; although Aiken describes himself as Christian, he officially came out as gay in 2008.

While Crisco’s death is unfortunate, so is the fact that he was running against an American Idol.  Popular name recognition seemed to be favored over Crisco’s Harvard MBA and actual experience in state government.