Former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken officially declared his candidacy for U.S. Congress out of North Carolina on Wednesday, according to a campaign release.

Clay Aiken is running for Congress

Credit: Getty Images

“For most Americans, there are no golden tickets,” Aiken says in a nearly five-minute-long campaign video on his website. “At least not like the kind you see on TV. More families are struggling today than at any time in our history. And here in North Carolina, we’ve suffered more than our share of pain.”

Aiken is running as a Democrat to unseat Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers in the state’s second district. She was elected in 2010.

She dismissed Aiken’s then-potential candidacy in a radio interview Tuesday, saying his it would be because “his performing career isn’t going so well and he’s bored.” Ellmers also took a jab at his stint on American Idol, noting that that Aiken didn’t win. “As we know, he doesn’t always fare all that well,” Ellmers said.

Aiken, a teacher for students with special needs, was appointed by George W. Bush in his second term to serve on the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

Aiken came out as gay in 2008 one month after the birth of his son.