Story highlights

Aiken was the runner-up on season 2 of "American Idol"

His debut album went to No. 1 on Billboard's Top 200

He's running as a Democrat in North Carolina's second congressional district

CNN  — 

Singer Clay Aiken of “American Idol” fame kicked off his bid for Congress with a video that went up on his website early Wednesday.

Aiken is running as a Democrat in North Carolina’s second congressional district. He hopes to take on Rep. Renee Ellmers, a two term Republican, if he defeats a couple of other Democrats already in the race.

In his video, Aiken tells his life story, including growing up in a home torn apart by domestic violence.

He shot to fame in 2003 as the season 2 runner-up on “American Idol.” He’s released six albums since then, topping Billboard’s Top 200 in 2004 with his debut, “Measure of a Man.”

He made it to Broadway in 2008, playing the role of Sir Richard in “Spamalot.”