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Clay Aiken Makes Moves Toward Congressional Bid, Report Claims

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Following earlier claims that Clay Aiken was considering a congressional run in North Carolina, a local report says the former "American Idol" contestant is pulling together a campaign team.

Sources tell WRAL that Aiken, a North Carolina native, has consulted with Democratic strategists Betsy Conti, Nation Hahn and Gary Pearce for a potential 2014 run, and has spoken with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Earlier this month, the Washington Blade reported that Aiken was considering running for Congress. At the time, the DCCC couldn't confirm Aiken's plans, but Southern Regional Press Secretary David Bergestein told HuffPost it's no surprise Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), a controversial lawmaker in the state, has drawn opposition.

"Congresswoman Ellmers is responsible for the most unpopular and reckless Congress in history that's put the middle class at greater risk but it's up to potential candidates to talk about whether they're interested in running for Congress, not us," he said.

Ellmers' office did not respond to a request for comment.

Aiken was the "American Idol" runner-up in 2003, and came out as gay in 2008. No stranger to politics, he spoke out against North Carolina's Amendment One in May 2012, denouncing the legislation that aimed to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

"The polls in North Carolina show that over 60 percent of North Carolinians actually support some recognition for same-sex couples, be it civil unions or domestic partnerships," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "As North Carolinians see what it's done, and what it will do, I think they will support the fact that President Obama did speak out on principle. ... I think we'd like to see politicians speak out on principle a little bit more."

Jennifer Bendery contributed to this report.

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