Clay Aiken’s Congressional Challenger Found Dead

The North Carolina businessman challenging American Idol alum Clay Aiken in the primary race to represent the state’s 2nd Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives died Monday.

Keith Crisco was found dead at his home after suffering injuries in a fall. The race between Aiken and Crisco, 71, was too close to call. Just 369 votes separated the candidates. The final count is expected to be announced on Tuesday.

Joshua Lawson, spokesman for the North Carolina Board of Elections, says the voter certification process will continue as scheduled. If absentee ballots or voting errors put Crisco ahead of Aiken then the District Executive Committee of the Democratic Party will choose a nominee to run against Republican incumbent Renee Elmers in he November general election.

Aiken released a statement shortly after learning of Crisco’s passing:

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

Clay has suspended all campaign activity.

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