Singer Clay Aiken's chief rival for the Democratic nomination for Congress died unexpectedly Monday, about a week after primary voting.
Keith Crisco, 71, a former North Carolina secretary of Commerce, died "after an accidental fall" at his home in Asheboro, N.C., according to a statement from his family. A woman who answered the telephone at Asheboro Elastics, which Crisco founded, confirmed the news to USA TODAY and said the company's workers were in shock.
Aiken, a former American Idol runner-up, said he will suspend campaign activities to pray for Crisco's family and friends.
The entertainer was leading Crisco by 369 votes for the Democratic nod in North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District, but the race was too close to call and still not finalized. The Democratic nominee will go on to face GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers in the fall.