Clay Aiken's Democratic Rival in N.C. Primary Suddenly Dies

Clay Aiken's Democratic Rival in N.C. Primary Suddenly Dies

The campaign always seemed a bit odd—a gay TV reality talent star runs for Congress in a deeply Southern state—but now it's just downright strange. Last we reported, the former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken (and one of Out's Most Eligible Bachelors, according to a 2012 poll) was close to being named the winner in the North Carolina Democratic primary for Congress, but the he was only leading by 369 votes, so it remained too close to call.

Now, it's been decided since Aiken's chief rival for the nom, 71-year-old Keith Crisco died unexpectedly Monday. He died "after an accidental fall" at his home in Asheboro, N.C., according to a statement from his family, which USA Today confirmed.

Aiken said he will suspend campaign activities to pray for Crisco's family and friends, but now that he's the Democratic nominee, he will go on to face GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers in the fall.

"He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man, and an extraordinary public servant," Aiken wrote on his campaign site, which now has a black backround and only contains a short message of condolence. "I was honored to know him."

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