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Clay Aiken's opponent passes away before votes revealed

Kristyn Burtt is an LA-based entertainment reporter who has covered everything from 'Dancing With the Stars' to the Oscars. If she’s not on the red carpet, she’s at home in yoga pants watching Netflix and eating potato chips.

Strange ending to a close primary

You can't make this stuff up. One day before the results of Clay Aiken's congressional run in the primaries are announced, his opponent dies.


A strange turn of events has occurred during Clay Aiken's run in the Democratic primary in North Carolina's 2nd congressional district: his opponent has died. Keith Crisco passed away suddenly on Monday.

According to The Courier-Tribune in Asheboro, North Carolina, the local businessman and candidate suffered injuries from a fall at his home around 1 p.m. EST. He was reported dead at the scene before emergency workers had even arrived.

VIDEO: Clay Aiken takes on a new career in politics >>

It had been a tight race between the American Idol alum and Crisco with only 369 votes separating the two. Aiken had been in the lead, but the candidates were both waiting for the official word on Tuesday since provisional ballots still needed to be counted. It was so close that there was a possibility of a recount or a July runoff between the two candidates.

Aiken's opponent was 71 years old.

The singing sensation released a statement regarding the passing of Crisco.

Clay Aiken leading race for North Carolina primary >>

He said, "I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco's death. Keith came from humble beginnings. No matter how high he rose — to Harvard, to the White House and to the Governor's Cabinet — he never forgot where he came from.

"He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant. I was honored to know him.

"I am suspending all campaign activities as we pray for his family and friends."

If the 35-year-old former singing sensation wins the election, he will be facing Republican opponent Congresswoman Renee Ellmers for the seat in congress.

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