U.S.

Keith Crisco, Clay Aiken's Opponent in N.C. House Race, Dies

Keith Crisco, who was locked in a tight primary with former "American Idol" contestant Clay Aiken, died Monday after a fall at his house.

Keith Crisco, Clay Aiken's Opponent in N.C. House Race, Dies
Crisco For Congress
SMS

Keith Crisco, the man running against former "American Idol" contestant Clay Aiken for Congress, was found dead Monday. This is just days after a primary that still hasn't been called for either candidate. 

Crisco, was a 71-year-old former state Secretary of Commerce and businessman from Asheboro, North Carolina, and announced his run in January so he could improve jobs and economic growth. (Via Crisco For Congress)

Crisco's campaign to represenent North Carolina's second district became part of a national story in February when Aiken announced he would join the race. Aiken finished second on "American Idol" in 2003. (Via Clay Aiken For North Carolina)

The Courier-Tribune reports that Crisco suffered injuries from a fall in his home around 1 p.m and was pronounced dead once emergency workers arrived at the scene. Details are still scarce.

Crisco's death comes almost a week after the Democratic congressional primary ended on Tuesday — a race that ended up being too close to call. (Via ABC)

The Wall Street Journal reports that with a lead of fewer than 400 votes, Aiken's close victory would likely be confirmed Tuesday.  

Aiken has announced that he will suspend all campaign activity in the wake of Crisco's death, and he replaced his campaign site with only this message on a black background:

"I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco's death. Keith came from humble beginnings. No matter how high he rose – to Harvard, to the White House and to the Governor's Cabinet – he never forgot where he came from." (Via Clay Aiken for North Carolina)

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, who currently represents North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District, released a statement on her site saying she was "deeply saddened by this sudden and painful tragedy. ... His kindness and dedication to his principles were models we should all strive toward."

If absentee ballots or any voting errors make Crisco the primary's winner, the Democratic Party's executive committee for the district would choose the nominee.