Clay Aiken Primary Opponent Dies (Video)

Former North Carolina Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco, who was vying for the Democratic nomination in a North Carolina House race, 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.  

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As of Monday, Crisco trailed "American Idol" runner up Clay Aiken by about 370 votes for the Democratic nomination in North Carolina's 2nd District. A canvass was set for Tuesday to determine whether Aiken had won the election outright, or whether Crisco could have forced a recount or runoff election.  

Brad Crone, a North Carolina Democratic strategist and friend of Crisco, said Crisco was set to concede to Aiken Tuesday morning.  

"I had spoken with Keith earlier in the day,” Crone said in an email. "I had called [Aiken advisor] Gary Pearce to convey that Keith was going to concede the election tomorrow morning and would be calling Mr. Aiken to congratulate him."  

The North Carolina State Board of Elections acknowledged Crisco’s passing in a statement Monday afternoon, but did not immediately confirm whether Aiken is officially certified as the primary winner.  

"The State Board of Elections is saddened to hear of the passing of Keith Crisco.  A native of North Carolina, we are grateful for Mr. Crisco’s service to our state and his community through the years. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Crisco family during this difficult time."  

Both were looking to take on GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers in November.