WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) -- Keith Crisco, who was running in North Carolina against Clay Aiken for Rep. Renee Ellmers' seat, died unexpectedly in his Asheboro home Monday.
While few details were immediately available, the Ashboro Courier-Tribune reported Crisco, 71, suffered a fall around 1 p.m. and was declared dead at the scene by emergency responders.
Crisco, who served as state Secretary of Commerce from 2008 to 2012, was the co-founder of the Asheboro Elastics Corp. and active in local government.
Aiken led Crisco by 369 votes after last week's Democratic primary, and while not all ballots had been counted, there weren't enough left to change the outcome of the race. Crisco's campaign was planning to announce that he would concede the election Tuesday morning, said Brad Crone, a political strategist and longtime friend.
Crisco was married with three children and six grandchildren.
Aiken's campaign issued the following statement Monday afternoon:
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.