Clay Aiken and Sandra Fluke: Two Famous People Who Won't Be in Congress Next Year

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 5 2014 8:56 AM

Clay Aiken and Sandra Fluke: Two Famous People Who Won't Be in Congress Next Year

It's been 11 years since Clay Aiken narrowly lost American Idol, and six years since he came out of the closet. He's remained quite famous even if his records haven't really been part of the zeitgeist. This means his bid for Congress in North Carolina's 2nd District will get more coverage than the average race, even though Aiken probably can't win.

Advertisement

Now, this is a pretty solid bio spot, and the D.C. strategy firm that's promoting Aiken is quick to remind everyone that he did work for UNICEF and served two years on the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. The problem: North Carolina's 2011 gerrymander. The 2nd District used to be a competitive seat leaning to the Democrats, but in 2011 it was shored up to protect Rep. Renee Ellmers, a telegenic freshman who won in part because the incumbent Democrat had throttle-hugged a tracker. (This makes quite a contrast with Aiken's anti-bullying campaign.) Ellmers has since been promoted as the party's voice on women-and-health-care, so I doubt she'll lack support to win a seat that's designed to re-elect her.

Still: Aiken is famous. Sandra Fluke, who is also famous, has announced she'll pass on a race for Congress in California and run instead for state Senate. California's state Senate districts are actually larger than its congressional districts, but there was a labor-backed female candidate, Wendy Greuel, jumping into the House race and thwarting an easy primary for Fluke. Both of them have been the subject of more national politics stories than Montana's Steve Daines, West Virginia's Shelley Moore Capito, and South Dakota's Mike Rounds—all Republicans whose likely 2014 victories may win the GOP control of the Senate.

*Correction, Feb. 5, 2014: This post originally misspelled California congressional candidate Wendy Greuel's last name.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 3:24 PM Symantec Removes Its “Sexual Orientation” Filter
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 3:30 PM How Crisis Pregnancy Centers Trick Women
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 3:04 PM Pogo Returns With Another Utterly Catchy Disney Remix
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.