Clay Aiken Makes Appearance At ECU's College Democrats Gala

An American Idol runner-up turned politician is focusing on the youth vote to keep a high level of energy around his campaign.

Congress hopeful Clay Aiken was in Greenville on Friday.

Aiken told WITN, "I need to make sure people see me in a different light. It's not been that difficult, having a name that people recognize has allowed me to get in front of folks. They're curious, they want to talk to me, they want to hear what I have to say."

Aiken is running for the state's 2nd Congressional District currently held by Republican Renee Ellmers. He's running against fellow democrat Keith Crisco.

On Friday night, Aiken was at East Carolina's Heart Institute speaking to ECU students at the College Democrats Gala.

Aiken said, "These are the young people who are going to be making the decisions about the direction this state goes in. The direction this country goes in."

His journey is unique and one that ECU's College Democrats President Ebony West admires.

"Turning from American Idol and also pursuing a career in politics is really good," said West. "I feel like it'll really inspire a lot of people, especially me to want to pursue politics in the future."

Aiken said he chose to run for office when he recognized an opportunity to get people to listen to important issues like education.

The convention continues Saturday. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper will speak at a luncheon at the Hilton in Greenville.

Aiken's opponent, Keith Crisco, will speak at the Greenville Museum of Art Saturday night.