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Clay Aiken’s opponent in U.S. House of Representatives race found dead

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Clay Aiken speaks onstage at the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Marriott Marquis on March 28, 2009 in New York City. Photo: Video by Getty Videos

Clay Aiken’s opponent in U.S. House of Representatives race found dead

By Phyllis Stark. CREATED May 13, 2014

A close election involving former “American Idol” contestant turned politician Clay Aiken has taken an unexpected and tragic turn. Aiken’s opponent for the Democratic nomination in a United States House of Representatives race, businessman Keith Crisco, has been found dead following an apparent fall in his home. 

According to The Washington Post, Crisco, a former North Carolina Commerce Secretary, “died on Monday, an employee at his company, Asheboro Elastics Corporation, confirmed. Local media reports stated that Crisco died from a fall at his home in Asheboro. He was pronounced dead when emergency responders arrived on the scene, according to the Asheboro Courier-Tribune. He was 71.”
 
Aiken and Crisco had been vying for the nomination in the state's 2nd congressional district.
 
As the Post reports, “The contest was without an official winner nearly a week after the primary election. With all precincts reporting the results of last Tuesday's election, Aiken led Crisco by fewer than 400 votes … Crisco did not concede the race, awaiting the results of a final count, including absentee ballots that continued to pour in for days.” Reports say he was planning to concede on Tuesday.
 
“In a statement, Aiken said he was ‘deeply saddened’ by Crisco's death and called him a ‘good and honorable man,’” the Post reports. Aiken also announced that he was "suspending all campaign activities as we pray for his family and friends."​
 
Crisco and Aiken were vying for a chance to run against Rep. Renee Ellmers (R) in a district that leans Republican, acceding to the Post.