Clay Aiken is far from the first celebrity to make the leap from stardom to politics. We’re all too familiar with the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as movie-star-turned-president, Ronald Reagan.
But Aiken, who is running on the Democratic ticket to represent the second congressional district in North Carolina, looks to have a tough road ahead — his opponent, two-term incumbent, Renee Ellmers, has publicly dismissed the former American Idol contestant as just an “entertainer.”
“It’s almost as if as an entertainer, you believe that you can just go in with a song and dance and change the mind of the military leaders,” Ellmers said to Aiken.
But Aiken fired back during a recent debate, telling Ellmers, “The most embarrassing reality show in the country right now is Congress,” according to People via ABC News.
Ellmers also had nothing nice to say about Aiken’s proposed economic policy — during a discussion about job creation, she called the economy “this Obama-Aiken economy,” whatever that means.
“You might need to get a new writer because calling it the Obama-Aiken economy is just preposterous,” Aiken told her.
Ellmers has taken personal jabs at Aiken before in the race, telling reporters, “He didn’t do all that well — he was runner-up, so…”
It’s clear that Ellmer doesn’t take Aiken seriously because he’s a celebrity. But if he can win, he’ll follow in the footsteps of other stars who have made real political legacies for themselves. He has a tough road ahead of him — North Carolina’s second district is historically conservative and, although some celebrities manage to win contested political races, for the most part, they either have years of political experience already or seek low-profile positions.
This was Aiken’s first debate for the congressional seat. Voters in the district will cast their votes Nov. 4.