Clay Aiken Spars with Opponent in Heated Debate for Congressional Seat

Clay Aiken Running for Congress: Singer Spars with North Carolina Opponent
Clay Aiken
Brian Cahn/Zuma

10/07/2014 AT 04:30 PM EDT

Like Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger before him, Clay Aiken wants to make the leap from entertainment to politics.

But he won't land softly in a congressional seat if his opponent, Renee Ellmers, can help it.

Aiken, a Democrat, and Ellmers, the Republican two-term incumbent, squared off Monday in the only head-to-head debate in the race to represent the second congressional district in North Carolina.

While Ellmers dismissed the former American Idol contestant, 35, as an "entertainer," Aiken was not afraid to rebuff her as the two tersely interrupted each other throughout the heated debate.

"The most embarrassing reality show in the country right now is Congress," Aiken jabbed, according to ABC News.

"It's almost as if as an entertainer, you believe that you can just go in with a song and dance and change the mind of the military leaders," Ellmers said mockingly.

During a discussion about job creation, Ellmers also criticized what she called "this Obama-Aiken economy," a term the onetime Broadway star quickly ridiculed.

"You might need to get a new writer because calling it the Obama-Aiken economy is just preposterous," Aiken responded.

District members will cast their votes on Nov. 4.



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