You know that saying, ‘Third time’s the charm’? Well, it didn’t work out that way for singer-turned-politician Clay Aiken.
The American Idol alum ran for the House of Representatives in North Carolina’s second district this year. Tuesday night, election results from the 2014 midterms poured in from all over the country, where there were many closely-watched races.
Clay lost to Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers. As of 11am on Wednesday morning, Ellmers has 59% to Aiken’s 41%. It wasn’t a close race, as you can see. But it’s not surprising, considering this is a reliably Republican district, and most pundits knew Clay had a slim chance of winning. Of course, his name recognition is what drew attention to the race.
He gave a concession speech Tuesday night in Sanford, NC, after the race was called in favor on Ellmers. He thanked his supporters and everyone who worked on the campaign with him.
He also acknowledged the fact that this isn’t the first time he’s lost a race. “The result did not go the way we wanted it to tonight, but we’ve walked down this path once or twice before.” In 2003, Aiken became the runner-up to Ruben Studdard in season 2 of American Idol. And then in 2012 as a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice, he came in second to Arsenio Hall.
“About 11 years ago, after American Idol, we came up short in another vote. … When we came up short in another competition in 2012, we raised $350,000 for the National Inclusion Project because of that opportunity together, and we were able to find a win in that.”
Staying optimistic, he said, “We got people to listen to the voices of folks whose voices were not being heard, and that is a win for all of us.”
On losing, Aiken said, “It has not dampened my desire to continue to use my voice for people whose voices are not being heard. … My voice is not going to be silenced by this, my voice is only going to get louder.”
You can watch the full concession speech below:
While we don’t know if Clay will run for office again, we do know what his next venture will be. He allowed cameras into his campaign to follow his journey, and it will be turned into a four-hour docu-series to air on Esquire Network in 2015.
This isn’t the first time a politician has done something like this. President Obama allowed cameras into his campaign in 2008, which resulted in the HBO documentary By the People: The Election of Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney had his own documentary called Mitt released on Netflix following his loss to Obama in 2012.
Filmmakers Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn are at the helm of this project, which includes Clay announcing his candidacy in February, winning the primary in May, strategy meetings, debate prep, town halls, bus tours and much more.
“We were granted incredible access during the making of this documentary, and in turn were able to capture the internal workings of an American campaign — the good, the bad and the ugly,” Simon said in a statement. Jonathan added, “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Esquire Network, who are tackling topics that are not only popular and entertaining but also smart and thoughtful.”
“Ultimately, this series is a raw and honest look at American politics through an incredibly unique and compelling candidate,” Esquire’s Matt Hanna said. “The opportunity to work with amazing documentarians Simon and Jonathan Chinn gave Esquire Network the perfect opportunity to explore politics and its intersection with celebrity.”
Click here to watch a quick teaser trailer in which Clay talks about the possibility of losing.
The project doesn’t have a title yet, but that will probably be revealed soon as the docu-series will air in the first quarter of 2015. Just as By the People and Mitt provided fascinating behind the scenes coverage of what went on inside two presidential campaigns — one that claimed victory and the other that ended in defeat — Clay Aiken’s series is sure to be intriguing as well.
(Image courtesy of WENN)