Entrepreneur Keith Crisco, opponent to Clay Aiken running for the 2nd Congressional District nomination in North Carolina, died at his home in Asheboro on Monday afternoon. He was 71 years old.
Early reports suggest Crisco suffered injuries from a fall around 1 p.m. and was dead when emergency services arrived at the scene, City Manager John Ogburn confirmed.
The District 2 race was still considered “too close to call,” even a week after the primary election, though Aiken lead Crisco by 369 votes at last count.
Aiken said he was “deeply saddened” by Crisco’s death in a statment, and called him a “good and honorable man.” He also announced that he would be “suspending all campaign activities as we pray for his family and friends.””‹
Crisco served as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Commerce until 2012. He is survived by his wife Jane, three children, and six grandchildren.
Aiken will now face incumbent Republican Representative Renee Ellmers later this year.
Ellmers said of the news: “I am deeply saddened by this sudden and painful tragedy and wish God’s blessings for Keith’s family through the coming days. His kindness and dedication to his principles were models we should all strive toward, and he will be dearly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Keith’s family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time.”