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Clay Aiken pauses congressional campaign after challenger dies from fall

Keith Crisco, who had been locked in a tight race with Clay Aiken in a Democratic congressional primary in North Carolina, died in an accident on May 12.

Crisco, according to the Asheboro Courier-Tribune, fell inside his home, suffering serious injuries. The fall occurred at about 1:30 p.m.

The state elections commission issued a statement: "We are grateful for Mr. Crisco's service to our state and his community through the years. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Crisco family during this difficult time."

The primary was held a week ago but was close, with Aiken, who is openly gay and a former "American Idol" runner-up, ahead by just 369 votes.

Crisco, 71, and Aiken, were running for their party's nomination for the House seat held by Republican Renee Ellmers.

Aiken released a statement on May 12: "I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco's death. He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man, and an extraordinary public servant. I was honored to know him."

Aiken has paused his campaign.

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