North Carolina Democratic congressional candidate Keith Crisco was found dead at his home on Monday, days after his primary race against singer Clay Aiken was declared too close to call. Crisco was 71.
The Asheboro Courier-Tribune reported that, according to employees at his company, Asheboro Elastics, emergency workers found Crisco after he suffered injuries related to a fall in the residence.
Crisco, who served as the state’s Secretary of Commerce from 2008 to 2012, reportedly trailed Aiken by 369 votes following their May 6 primary election. WTVD-TV reported that Crisco’s campaign was waiting for the final tally from elections officials before deciding whether to ask for a recount. The winner was scheduled to challenge incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) for the state’s 2nd District congressional seat later this year.
“A native of North Carolina, we are grateful for Mr. Crisco’s service to our state and his community through the years,” elections officials said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Crisco family during this difficult time.”
ABC News reported that Aiken also issued a statement expressing his condolences.
“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,” Aiken’s statement read. “He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant. I was honored to know him.”
Watch an April 2014 interview the Raleigh News & Observer conducted with Crisco below.