Keith Crisco, Clay Aiken's primary opponent for the Democratic nomination for North Carolina's Second Congressional District, was found dead in his home today. 

The 71-year-old former Secretary of Commerce for North Carolina was slightly trailing Aiken at the time of his death, but had yet to concede the election. The two were separated by just 369 votes in a race that was too close to call. 

After hearing of Crisco's death, Aiken has decided to suspend his campaign and issued the following statement: 

"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."

The North Carolina native leaves behind his wife Jane, three children, and six grandchildren. 

Aiken will go on to battle incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers in the congressional election this fall. 

[via Gawker and WTVD-TV]

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