Clay Aiken Wins Democratic Primary After Opponent Suddenly Dies

Clay Aiken can now call himself the last congressional candidate left for the Democratic nomination. Unfortunately, this is not a celebratory win as Aiken’s opponent Congressional candidate, Keith Crisco, was found dead in his home in Asheboro, North Carolina.

The Courier-Tribune reports that the former American Idol contestant and Broadway star won more than 40 percent of the vote that’s necessary to win in the three-candidate race for each county.

As we previously reported, candidate Keith Crisco was found dead at the scene after a fall that happened around 1 p.m. Emergency officials arrived on the scene at Crisco’s home, but it was too late. Officials confirmed his sudden death with the Asheboro Elastics Corp, which is a textile the company Keith founded back in 1986.

Over the past few days, Crisco and Aiken were neck and neck in the race for the 2nd Congressional District nomination, with Crisco trailing Aiken by 369 votes in last week’s primary. Last week, the race was apparently too close to call, and both men were waiting on the official word before requesting a recount.

According to Raleigh political consultant, Brad Cone, it was believed that Crisco had planned to concede in the election. Crone stated in an e-mail:

“At his instruction, I had called Gary Pearce to convey that Keith was going to concede the election tomorrow morning and would be calling Mr. Aiken to congratulate him.”

The 71-year-old was a well respected businessman and was also a former state commerce secretary. He leaves behind a wife of 49 years.

It is uncertain whether or not Clay Aiken will take the nomination, but if he does he will be facing Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, a Republican, in the November general election for North Carolina’s Second Congressional District.

Of Crisco’s tragic passing, Rep. Ellmers said:

“I am deeply saddened by this sudden and painful tragedy and wish God’s blessings for Keith’s family through the coming day. His kindness and dedication to his principles were models we should all strive toward, and he will be dearly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Keith’s family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Clay Aiken said he was, “stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco’s death” and was putting his campaign on hold “as we pray for his family and friends.”

Aiken also said about Crisco:

“He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant. I was honored to know him.”

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