posted on February 06, 2014 13:57
Your first reaction was probably the same as mine. Clay Aiken? The singer? For Congress?
Then I met him. He’s the same person you meet in his announcement video. He’s smart, serious and genuine. He clearly has thought deeply about policy matters. He has a unique voice that is a breath of fresh air in a polluted political climate. And he has a genuine empathy for people that he has demonstrated as a YMCA counselor, a special education teacher, a foundation leader and a UNICEF representative overseas.
He’s kind of like Opie Taylor would have turned out if he’d had a big voice. Except he’s tougher than he looks.
Republicans predictably pushed the rewind button on their political mud machine. The haters and the homophobes crept out of their Internet cellars. Have at it. Aiken’s campaign feeds off their fuel – and the public’s disgust with it.
For Democrats, there’s a choice between competing theories of the race.
Keith Crisco’s theory is that he can peel off Republican voters in Randolph County. He says he did it when he ran for county commissioner in 1992. He lost, but he ran ahead of Governor Hunt and President Clinton.
Aiken’s theory is that he can mobilize a new wave of new and young voters. He can inject new energy, reshape the electorate and shake up the race.
There is a new generation of voters – and leaders – rising in North Carolina. They are idealistic and driven to make a difference. They are connected and engaged. If Democrats win them now, they can win with them for a long time to come.
The question for Democrats is which path is right for the future. Which helps Kay Hagan most this year and helps candidates for governor and President in two years. I think the answer is obvious. That’s why I’m for Clay.