Renee Ellmers: Clay Aiken Couldn't Even Win 'American Idol,' Let Alone Congressional Seat

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) says she isn't too impressed by her potential new congressional challenger, former "American Idol" contestant Clay Aiken.

In a radio interview with WMAL last week, the congresswoman was asked about Aiken, who is exploring a run in the Democratic primary.

"Apparently, his performing career is not going so well. He's very bored," Ellmers said. "I'll tell you, I'm a little hurt. I think he has an incredible voice and he's incredibly talent, and I'd rather have his support."

The hosts then asked Ellmers if she had voted for Aiken during his stint on the popular Fox reality show.

"As we know, he didn't really fare all that well. He was runner-up," she said. "He also didn't win on ['Celebrity Apprentice'].. so I guess the next step is Congress. You know, we don't have a very high approval rating so I guess the bar's been lowered for him."

Listen to full audio of Ellmers' remarks on YouTube.

Aiken, who came in second place to Ruben Studdard during the 2003 "Idol" season, has reportedly met with key Democrats to discuss his potential campaign.

Ellmers has represented North Carolina's 2nd District since 2011. While no polls have been conducted including Aiken in the race, the district's voting history suggests Aiken or any other Democrat would have a difficult time unseating the GOP incumbent.

The district, which encompasses part of the Raleigh suburbs as well as a swath of the central and eastern parts of the state, voted for John McCain over President Barack Obama in 2008 by a 13-point margin. In 2010, Ellmers won her seat from a Democratic incumbent by less than a single percentage point, just before redistricting transformed the 2nd into a fairly safe Republican seat. In 2012, the district voted for Mitt Romney over Obama by 16 points, while reelecting Ellmers by 14 points.

There are currently only three Democratic representatives in the House whose districts voted for Romney by comparable or higher margins than Ellmers’: Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), and Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.). All three representatives had the benefit of an entrenched incumbency in 2012, and each represents a district that was fundamentally altered by redistricting in 2010 to lean more Republican.



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