GARY D. ROBERTSON
RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- Former "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken says he's running for Congress in North Carolina because he believes he can help end the gridlock in Washington.
The singer officially filed candidacy papers Thursday to run for the state's 2nd Congressional District currently held by Republican Renee Ellmers. Aiken announced his bid three weeks ago. His first job is to try to win the Democratic primary in May.
The 35-year-old Aiken surrounded himself with family and former teachers while speaking to reporters at the State Board of Elections. He says people want Congress to find solutions to problems and says lowering unemployment would be a top priority.
Aiken is a North Carolina native who finished second to Ruben Studdard in TV's 2003 "Idol" competition. He's also released albums and worked on Broadway.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)