Clay Aiken

Former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken officially announced his candidacy for Congress Wednesday.

In a video filmed in his childhood home Aiken, 35, shared difficult stories from his past, including an abusive father, and explained how they have inspired him to run for political office. 

"For most Americans, there are no golden tickets — at least not like the kid you see on TV," he said. "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."

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The Broadway star is running for the House of Representatives seat in North Carolina's second district, hoping to unseat second-term Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers.

Aiken, a Democrat who name-drops working with George W. Bush in the video, says that Ellmers has ignored her conscience and the needs of North Carolina's families on the Republican party's orders.

"This is what's wrong with Washington — that a congresswoman would go there and vote against the best interests of North Carolina military families, and those who depend on the military for their jobs," Aiken said. "To do it when you know it's wrong is even worse. And to do it because your national party told you to, that's what convinced me, in the end, that if I didn't try to do something about it, then I couldn't complain if no one else did.

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"I'm not a politician. I don't ever want to be one," he continued. "But I do want to help bring back at least to my corner of Washington the idea that someone can go to Washington to represent all the people, whether they voted for you or not, and maybe we can play a small part in igniting that change across the rest of our country."

Watch Aiken's full campaign video.