EXIT 87 I-95n: to Four Oaks nr Raleigh, North Carolina
Clay Aiken, who is also a former competitor on NBC's “The Celebrity Apprentice" knows Donald Trump personally but was actually fired by Trump on the show. In fact, he was a close second place candidate to Arsenio Hall in 2012.
According to the Entertainment Industry magazine Variety, running for popular office and Coming up runner up but still winning big somehow is a recurring theme for Aiken. Way Back in 2003, on American Idol’s second season Aiken got his big break but came up second. He lost the mega talent show to singer Ruben Studdard.
Being Runner up didn’t put a damper on Clay Aiken’s super busy career.
Among numerous and notable philanthropic activities, the former special education teacher has put out half a dozen albums, toured almost twice as many times, starred on Broadway’s runaway hit “Spamalot,” appeared on a variety of sitcoms (“Scrubs,” “Drop Dead Diva,” “30 Rock”). Not to be confined to the cut throat entertainment industry, in 2014, the politically outspoken activist and out of the closet father declared his Democratic candidacy to the United States House of Representatives for North Carolina’s second District. Shortly thereafter, Aiken sold his mansion outside Durham, North Carolina, for $1,500,000 which is far less than the $2,700,000 he wanted for the place back in 2011. Aiken won the Democratic primary after his septuagenarian opponent died in a freak fall and shortly thereafter he traded nasty barbs with his Republican incumbent opponent during a debate.
Ironically, Clay endorsed Trump on a personal level describing him as "that uncle, who embarrasses the hell out of you sometimes and you still love them, but damn, you wish they'd shut up." He also famously described Hilary as stiff and predicted Trump would win the presidency because he unlike Hilary, was authentic. Clay himself is proud of his high profile gay relationships and he is now a proud father — a fact he promoted during his run for election in a largely conservative state.
Clay Aiken was born and raised in Raleigh. As a young boy, Clay sang in the Raleigh Boy's choir; and, as a teenager, he sang in school choirs, church choirs, musicals and even local theatre productions. Clay attended Raleigh's Leesville Road High School and UNC Durham.
A multi talent threat Clay has written best sellers and become one of the top ten earners of all Idol Alumni several times making about $1,500,000 a year since 2003.
The one thing he has not achieved is the seat in Congress. In 2014, Clay Aiken lost to Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers in the general election.
But there's is always a second season. And although Clay did not run for office in 2020, he is never content to be runner up for long.