Former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken is using his ties with George W. Bush to promote his congressional run in the more-conservative 2nd District of North Carolina.

Aiken was appointed by President Bush in 2006 to a two-year term on the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

"I'm a Democrat," he noted, "But it was when I was appointed by President Bush to serve a special presidential commission to address the educational challenges of people with special needs, that was when I first realized that our problems won't be solved by only one party or the other, but instead it's going to require all of us."

Aiken, who's openly gay, faces a potentially tough road in a socially conservative district now represented by GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers.