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Clay Aiken's Congressional Opponent Keith Crisco Dies in Fall

Image: Clay Aiken's Congressional Opponent Keith Crisco Dies in Fall Undated file photo provided by the campaign of Keith Crisco shows Crisco, a candidate in the Democratic Party primary in North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District.

Monday, 12 May 2014 06:33 PM

By Angela Deines

Keith Crisco, the man running against "American Idol" alum Clay Aiken in North Carolina's 2nd District Democratic Congressional race, has reportedly died of injuries from a fall.

According to The Asheboro Courier-Tribune, Crisco, 71, suffered a fall at his home early Monday afternoon and was dead at the scene.

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"I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco's death,” Aiken said in a statement. “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. I am suspending all campaign activities as we pray for his family and friends.”

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory also weighed in with reaction to Crisco’s untimely death.

"My heart sank, like so many other people who admired Keith Crisco, when I learned of his sudden passing," McCrory said in a statement. "While I was a mayor, and now as governor, Keith was a partner, collaborator and strong advocate for the state he loved ... North Carolina was blessed and is a better state because of his leadership."

The 2nd District race was reportedly too close to call but Aiken was reportedly ahead of Crisco by nearly 370 votes as of Monday. Both candidates were waiting for the official canvas that was to take place Tuesday before deciding how each would proceed. The winner of the primary would take on incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers this fall.

Crisco, a Harvard business graduate, served as a White House fellow from 1970-71 with a position of assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. In 1978, he became the president of Stedman Elastics in Asheboro and has served on the Asheboro City Council.

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