“I think he wants to give back,” he said. “He doesn’t need it for the glory.”
Aiken has until Feb. 28 to file the official paperwork to declare his candidacy.
Pearce said the Democratic Party needs candidates like Aiken who have the potential to bring in the youth vote.
Students interviewed who live in the 2nd District said they were surprised that Aiken was interested in politics.
Junior Alyson Grine said she was unsure of Aiken’s qualifications, but also said she realizes that celebrities have interests outside of their careers.
Aiken has a degree in special education from UNC-Charlotte and has served as a UNICEF Ambassador. He co-founded the National Inclusion Project and is involved with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
Aiken came out as gay in 2008.
Grine said she doesn’t see an issue with a gay candidate, but her hometown of Pinehurst might not share her views.
“My hometown is basically a retirement home for golfers — they tend to be pretty conservative,” she said.
Still, junior Ever Castro, who is from Asheboro, said informed voters would support Aiken if he has a good platform — ideally one that focuses on major issues for the area, including job creation.
“I think they would look over his personal life and focus on his professional and political views,” he said.
But Pearce said the district’s conservatism in general could pose a problem.
“Obviously there are going to be some people in the district who would never vote for a gay candidate, but I suspect most of them would never vote for a Democrat, period,” he said.
Micah Beasley, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Democratic Party said the party will support whichever candidate wins the primary in May.