NORTH CAROLINA - Former "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken is running for Congress in North Carolina.
Aiken said Wednesday he will seek the Democratic nomination for the seat currently held by Rep. Renee Ellmers.
The 35-year-old Aiken is expected to face former state commerce secretary Keith Crisco of Asheboro and licensed professional counselor Toni Morris of Fayetteville in the Democratic primary.
Aiken has been a special education teacher in Wake County. He says he decided to put his entertainment career on hold and seek to represent the state's 2nd Congressional District.
He says he considers Washington to be dysfunctional.
Aiken says he will focus on jobs and the economy and the importance of education.
Ellmers faces radio talk show host Frank Roche of Cary in the Republican primary.