The Democratic candidate who was narrowly trailing
Keith Crisco, who co-founded an elastics business in Asheboro and served in local and state government, died around 1 p.m. at home, according to the North Carolina Democratic Party. The Asheboro Courier-Tribune reported that the 71-year-old candidate died from a fall.
FOR THE RECORD
May 15, 10:13 a.m.: An earlier version of this post misidentified North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller as Randy Holler.
Crisco trailed Aiken, the former "American Idol" runner-up making his first bid for public office, by just 369 votes after last Tuesday's primary election. County election officials are scheduled to hold vote canvassing Tuesday to help determine whether a runoff election would have been triggered.
State election rules require a primary runoff if no candidate receives 40% of the vote. Initial results showed Aiken with 40.8% of the vote. Crisco had yet to concede, however, and could have requested a recount if the final margin was within 1 percentage point.
In a statement, Aiken said he was suspending all campaign activities, and called Crisco a "gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant."
Crisco’s death now all but ensures that Aiken will be the Democratic nominee to face incumbent Republican Rep.
In a statement, the state Democratic Party said that a recount had been "anticipated."