A North Carolina businessman trailing political neophyte Clay Aiken in a Democratic primary was prepared to concede the race before his sudden passing today, according to a local news report.
The News & Observer, citing a source close to Keith Crisco, said the businessman told him earlier today that he planned to give up his fight for the right to battle Rep. Renee Ellmers, the Republican incumbent, in the fall.
Brad Crone, a political strategist and longtime friend of Crisco’s, said he had just spoken to Crisco Monday morning. They were finalizing plans to announce on Tuesday morning that he would concede the election to Clay Aiken.
The American Idol star led Crisco by 369 votes following the May 6 election. Aiken issued the following statement following 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,” Aiken said. “He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant. I was honored to know him.
Aiken also addressed his immediate plans via Twitter:
I am suspending all campaign activities as we pray for his family and friends.
— Clay Aiken (@ClayForNC) May 12, 2014