May 12th, 2014
04:49 PM ET
7 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. Ronnie

    Dang....uh.....TOTALLY new found respect for Clay Aiken....know what I mean........not messing with that dude any time soon....

    May 12, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  2. Lagos

    You mess with the clay, you meet the grave
    You screw with Aiken, you'll be achin'.

    May 12, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  3. Ankle Bracelet

    Story doesn't give this detail found on Wikipedia. Crisco died on May 12th, 2014, after suffering a fall in his home

    May 12, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. NotYoDaddy

    The Strangler?

    Is there a stone missing from the necklace?

    May 12, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  5. bill

    Crisco out.

    May 12, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  6. Butter Lard

    Guess we're not gonna be cookin' with Crisco, huh?

    May 12, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. Wicked

    LMBO! Didn't see THAT coming !

    May 12, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "I hope Clay has a good alibi."

    I hope Renee Ellmers has a good alibi.

    And while we're at it...where in the world is Simon Cowle?

    May 12, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. ReallyNiceGuy

    So sad that someone passes away and the first thing the vast majority of posters do is make jokes. Someone's family is suffering and you joke? Not the kind of society I hoped for.

    May 12, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. Jack Smith

    This is like wondering who is going to win the play-in game for the last spot in the NCAA basketball tournament. It's interesting, but a waste of time because that team will get crushed the next round. In this case, by the republican in the fall.

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

    "Details of his death were not immediately clear". Why don't you just say they are "unknown?"

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

    Buried by and in Clay.

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

    It's obvious Clay Aikman killed him.You always have to ask "who benefits". There is no such thing as coincidence.

    – conspiracy theorist wacko

    May 12, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. Silence DoGood

    @larry
    Its amazing what O'Barrry will do to keep a seat
    ---------
    It is pretty sick to suggest this. Another member of the "moral" right wing is heard from.

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

    @ReallyNiceGuy... Don't trip on your skirt on the way out the door, Sally.

    May 12, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. bill

    I dunno. If dead people can vote I guess they can serve in office.

    May 12, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. Looknclick

    You guys making jokes about death, remind me the laughing weasels from the: "Who framed Roger Rabbit"

    May 12, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. Joseph

    A stunning and sad development.

    May 12, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. davecu

    My condolences to the family and loved ones.
    It must have been some shock.

    May 12, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. Bill

    Am I the only one that was puzzled because I thought of the American Idol singer first?

    May 12, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. JWoody907

    This really isn't gonna help that whole "Gay Mafia" thing.....

    May 12, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. sELMERS

    Convenient. Liberal party seems to always be shrouded in convenience.

    May 12, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  23. lerianis

    Dang...... guy died? Oh.... 71? Yeah, better than even chances you are going to die at that age looking like he does.

    May 12, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  24. BrickellPrincess

    Don't mess with Clay! He'll take you down with one stare. I wonder if the gay mafia got him? LOL JK Love you Clay. Really...I love you buddy.

    May 12, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. Sam

    Nothing happens naturally in this world. Everything is a conspiracy.

    May 12, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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