Clay Aiken, Democratic candidate for U.S. representative of North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District, gives his concession speech in Sanford, N.C. on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 after losing to Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers.
Abbi O'Leary—The Fayetteville Observer/AP
November 5, 2014 11:42 AM EST

What do you do after placing second on American Idol? If you’re Katharine McPhee, you release a few albums and attempt to cross over into acting. If you’re Adam Lambert, you tour with Queen and become an LGBT activist. If you’re Clay Aiken, you run for Congress. Naturally.

Aiken lost his bid for Congress yesterday to Republican Renee Elmers in North Carolina’s majority-Republican 2nd District; he claimed 41 percent of the vote to Elmers’ 59 percent. And Esquire Network revealed last night that it had been filming behind the scenes throughout the entire race, beginning with the announcement of Aiken’s candidacy in February.

The Democrat’s story is compelling on many levels. He’s a single, gay dad and a Christian. He attempted to break into Washington as a relative outsider, notwithstanding a two-year term on the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, for which his time working as a special education teacher qualified him. And the congressional race was marked by tragedy: His runner-up in the Democratic primary, Keith Crisco, died just days after the primary following a fall in his home.

The four-hour docuseries, which is yet to be titled, is helmed by Oscar winner Simon Chinn and Emmy winner Jonathan Chinn. “We were granted incredible access during the making of this documentary, and in turn were able to capture the internal workings of an American campaign — the good, the bad and the ugly,” Simon Chinn told The Hollywood Reporter. The project will air sometime during the first quarter of 2015.

Write to Eliza Berman at

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