Clay Aiken’s Congressional hopes took a strange turn Monday, when his opponent in the Democratic primary in North Carolina, the inopportunely named Keith Crisco, died from injuries suffered in a fall. Aiken, the former American Idol runner-up, and Crisco faced off against each other just last week in the primary, with results too close to call. (Aiken was ahead by 369 votes.) The pair were awaiting the results of an official canvassing, due Tuesday, before deciding on next steps.
Out of respect for Crisco, Aiken suspended his campaign activities “as we pray for his family and friends.” Crisco had sunk thousands of dollars of his own money into the campaign, hitting Aiken for his absences while serving on a Bush-era presidential commission on people with intellectual disabilities.
According to the state Board of Elections, if Crisco, who was 71, pulls ahead of Aiken in the official count, the Democratic party would choose the final candidate to run against incumbent Republican Renee Ellmers.