Updated 3:14 p.m. ET, 2/5/2014
(CNN) – He may be best known as an entertainer, but Clay Aiken says his personal story qualifies him for Congress.
"I do think that story qualifies me in the sense that I understand that we all go through issues, that we all go through struggles in life and they make us who we are and we learn from them, and for that reason I think empathy and caring for the people you represent is a really important qualification for Congress," Aiken said Wednesday in an interview on CNN's "Newsroom."
(CNN) - It seems New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie didn't need the backing of Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich of Fort Lee after all.
Christie carried Fort Lee in his landslide re-election victory last November over little known Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono. According to election results on the Bergen County Clerk's website, the Republican governor and likely 2016 GOP presidential contender grabbed 3,735 votes in Fort Lee, to Buono's 2,941. Democratic voters greatly outnumber their Republican counterparts in the borough.
(CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Ohio Monday is the fifth to the state by either Biden or President Barack Obama over the past four weeks. But the flurry of trips by the top two men in the White House doesn't seem to be making a dent in a state where Democrats face challenging elections this year.
The vice president teams up with Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland at campaign events in Akron and Dayton. Next month the president joins Strickland on the campaign trail. The October 17 event will be the 11th time Obama has visited Ohio since he became president.
Biden's visit comes as the two most recent polls of likely Ohio voters indicate Strickland is slipping against former Rep. John Kasich, the Republican gubernatorial nominee. According to a CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday, Strickland trails Kasich by seven points. And a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday indicates that Kasich holds a 17 point advantage over the first term governor.
(CNN) - Former Rep. James Traficant gets to run for his old congressional seat after all.
In early July, the Ohio Democrat - who spent seven years in prison on a bribery and racketeering conviction - fell about 100 names short of the necessary number of signatures needed to launch an independent bid as a candidate in Ohio's 17th congressional district.
But the Mahoning County Board of Elections on Monday night determined that Traficant had secured 11 more petition signatures than he needed to qualify as a candidate. The announcement was reported by local media. The decision followed a summer long battle by Traficant supporters to get the former congressman's name on the ballot.
Denver, Colorado (CNN) - President Obama and former President Bill Clinton are on opposite sides of a divisive Democratic Senate primary and a former pro-wrestling executive could take a big step toward winning election to the Senate - those are just two of the storylines as Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia and Minnesota hold primary contests Tuesday.
In Colorado, incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet is battling for his political life as he faces a primary challenge from former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. Bennet was plucked out of political obscurity early last year when Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter named him to replace then-Sen. Ken Salazar, who stepped down to serve as interior secretary in the Obama administration. Bennet was superintendent of the Denver school system at the time.
As sitting senator, Bennet has the backing and help of the national party and the White House. Obama headlined a fundraiser for Bennet in Colorado early this year and last month he recorded a robocall and sent out an e-mail in support of the senator.
But Romanoff has his own big-name endorsement. Earlier this summer Clinton announced he was backing Romanoff, whom he's known since 1992. Romanoff also supported Hillary Clinton's 2008 Democratic presidential bid. Clinton's voice appears on a robocall urging Colorado Democrats to vote for Romanoff.
(CNN) – Bill Haslam, the mayor of Knoxville and considered a moderate Republican, easily won the Tennessee GOP primary for governor Thursday, the Tennessee Department of State's website reported.
With all of the state's precincts reporting Haslam had 47.5 percent of the vote as he defeated Congressman Zach Wamp and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.
Halsam, who helped fund some of his own campaign, will now face Mike McWherter, a Democratic businessman and son of a former governor. The race is to succeed Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, who is prevented by term limits from running for a third term. Political handicappers think Republicans have a good shot at winning back the governor's office.
(CNN) - Polls are open in Tennessee, where a Republican gubernatorial battle and some contentious House nomination fights are in the spotlight in Thursday's primary.
Five candidates are on the ballot in the GOP contest for governor, but recent polls indicate it's a three-man race between Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, Rep. Zach Wamp and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. The race grabbed national attention last month because of controversial comments by two of the candidates.
Last month Wamp appeared to suggest that Tennessee should consider secession in light of mandates forced on the states by the Obama administration's health care bill. The eight-term congressman later walked back from those comments.
Ramsey also drew attention to himself last month after he was seen in a You Tube video questioning whether Islam is a religion while expressing his opposition to the expansion of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which has become a hot-button issue in the city about 35 miles southeast of Nashville.