May 12th, 2014
04:49 PM ET
4 months ago

Candidate locked in close primary contest with Clay Aiken dies

(CNN) – Keith Crisco, a businessman who was locked in a close primary race for a Democratic congressional seat in North Carolina with Clay Aiken, died on Monday.

He died at home in Asheboro around 1 p.m., according to the North Carolina Democratic Party. Other details were not immediately clear. He was 71.

Crisco was running a very close second in the primary battle in North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District, around 300 votes behind Aiken.

Final results had been expected as early as Tuesday along with a decision by Crisco on whether he would ask for a recount if the situation hadn't changed.

Aiken tweeted that he was "stunned and deeply saddened" by Crisco's death and temporarily suspended campaign activities.

"He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant," Aiken said in the tweet.

Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller noted Crisco's accomplishments in the public and private sector.

"Keith was a brilliant problem solver who liked to make good, solid public policy. He would have made a great congressman," Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller said.

Rep. Renee Ellmers, the Republican who currently holds the seat and would face the primary winner in November, said she was "deeply saddened" by the news.

"His kindness and dedication to his principles were models we should all strive toward and he will be dearly missed," Ellmers said. "My thoughts and prayers are with Keith's family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time."

Crisco was a textile entrepreneur and co-founded Asheboro Elastics, which confirmed his death.

He was also a former state commerce secretary and was a White House fellow in the 1970s.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Jane, and three children and six grandchildren.

His campaign could not immediately be reached for comment.

Democrats already faced an uphill battle to unseat Ellmers in the general election. She's in her second term in Congress.

CNN Political Director Mark Preston contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2014 • North Carolina • Uncategorized
soundoff (172 Responses)
  1. Stan

    His legacy will be lost to only being associated as being Clay Aiken's opponent in a run for a confessional seat. Sorry headline on the notification of his death.

    May 12, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. Boger

    so now what happens?

    May 12, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. samarai sam

    it was a slippery slope for mr Crisco and now mr aiken will not have to worry about being a bottom too.

    May 12, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. gmenfan54

    Well..that's one way to win an election.

    May 12, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. PK

    Oh Clay you dastardly devil you. Pulling out all the stops to get that ticket punched I see.

    May 12, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. Terry

    How is Crisco going to ask fro a recount when he's at the Pearly Gates?

    May 12, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Ross

    Taking in to account recent developments, it is not anticipated that Crisco will be asking for a recount.

    May 12, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. Eggi Devarg

    Clay called in another favor from the gay mafia.

    May 12, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. PK

    Oh Clay, pulling out all the stops to get that ticket punched I see.

    May 12, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. williamthescot

    I hope Clay has a good alibi.

    May 12, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  11. revolting peasant

    Moral of the story – don't cross Clay Aiken.

    May 12, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. American Idiot

    Raise your hand if you thought Ruben was gone.

    May 12, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. mart

    Guess we know who wins now

    May 12, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  14. Claude Ivers

    Well, it looks like the pervert might actually have a chance now.

    May 12, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  15. Michael Walsh

    It appears that Clay Aiken is the new Chuck Norris. Who'd have thunk it?

    May 12, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. User-301

    Clay has Taken lesson from Obama – They just can't be stopped!

    May 12, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  17. Dark Poet

    Counting all the Gay mafia jokes.........

    Though really now... conspiracy much?

    May 12, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  18. John Q

    Ok Repiblicans, insert Vince Foster style conspiracy I'm 3,2,1.....GO!

    May 12, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. jon

    His website and twitter accounts have already been taken down. They move fast huh?

    May 12, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. kondordisqus

    Clay Aiken may sing like a little girl but he is definitely swimming with the Underwood sharks now!

    May 12, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. gumbythecat

    I never knew Clay Aiken could be so vicious.

    May 12, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  22. Will B Free

    Clay Aiken – Desperado!

    May 12, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. Vijay

    Clay will be a good congressmen.. RIP to the departed congressmen.
    First Gay congressmen to be held office in 2014... I am for Clay....

    May 12, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. Alex

    So, no recount then?

    May 12, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  25. Ricky

    I honestly thought Ruben Studdard passed away

    May 12, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7