May 12th, 2014
04:49 PM ET
5 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. Jackson

    Kelly

    Clay had him offed.....

    ______________

    Congratulations. Unless you can prove it, you've just committed Libel. You're now a criminal. What a proud day for your family.

    May 12, 2014 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  2. R Long

    Really North Carolina, dont put C.A. in office. Have some self respect, even if you have accepted the label, Democrat

    May 12, 2014 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. jcp

    I hope I'm not the only one saw the headline and thought they were talking about Ruben Studdard.

    May 12, 2014 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. Bart Fargo

    I read only the second line of the headline on CNN's homepage – "Clay Aiken, dies" – and started to celebrate.

    May 12, 2014 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    RIP Mr. Crisco.

    May 12, 2014 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    How was Aiken even beating this guy?

    May 12, 2014 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. JoJo

    The good news is that the Dems have another person they can use to vote multiple times for them.

    May 12, 2014 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. Yes It's Not

    Clay,

    Next time when you tell your security guys to "take care of him," make sure you elaborate that you just want to give him some Box tickets to the next show ;-)

    May 12, 2014 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  9. hypo

    Musta heard one of clay's records

    May 12, 2014 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  10. Porkie

    The list of candidates is....shortening.

    May 12, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. Joeseph Eclaire

    He wins by default,,,death..

    May 12, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  12. Joeseph Eclaire

    Well, the old established N.C. Dems will have to swallow their pride and go for Clay.
    Not to mention the woman simply adore the Clay.

    May 12, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. celina davis

    Well, what shame. RIP. But you people don't need to be so nasty. The man died. Let it rest. And sowhat if Clay is gay, it doesn't mean he cant do the job. After all you do have a real idiot by the mane of LIndsay Graham in the Carolina's, that who you should be voting out. But for Keith Crisco leave him RIP.

    May 12, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. Bill

    Looks like Aiken wasn't about to finish second this time

    May 12, 2014 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  15. Kevin

    Shaping up to be a pretty easy race for Mr. Aiken.

    May 12, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. Truth432

    Awful convenient, So convenient in fact that the so called "Accident" in question was probably a govt set up perpetuated by the sick and demented homosexuals or something along them lines.

    It would not surprise me one bit if it was indeed not an "accident" with this push by the sick and perverted homosexual deviants infesting society now days!

    May 12, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. Truth432

    Awful convenient, So convenient in fact that the so called "Accident" in question was probably a govt set up perpetuated by the sick and demented homosexuals or something along them lines.
    It would not surprise me one bit if it was indeed not an "accident" with this push by the sick and perverted homosexual deviants infesting society now days!

    May 12, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  18. John Y

    "well in the south they vote for a Democrat even if he is dead"

    That is because a dead Democrat is still head a shoulders above any live Republican

    May 12, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  19. MS

    I wonder if Clay Aiken will win the election now?

    May 12, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  20. Bill

    Ah, my mistake. Hadn't kept up on him. Thanks all.

    May 12, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  21. LaQuencha Thurst

    American Idol would do anything for ratings...

    May 12, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  22. Aaron Nelson

    Please honor Keith Crisco by using his name in the headline on the front page. His lifetime of service is deserving of greater recognition than as Clay Aiken's opponent

    May 12, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  23. Truth432

    Awful convenient, So convenient in fact that the so called "Accident" in question was probably a govt set up perpetuated by the homosexuals or something along them lines.
    It would not surprise me one bit if it was indeed not an "accident" with this push by the sick and perverted homosexual deviants infesting society now days!

    May 12, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  24. mr coco

    Tony, make it look like an accident...

    May 12, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  25. joe

    Damn, Clay scared the man to death.

    May 12, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
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