Clay Aiken made headlines earlier this year when he announced he would be seeking a congressional seat for North Carolina. Aiken and his opponent were deadlocked until the end, but Aiken squeaked out a win in the primary. Even if he hadn't though, his opponent wouldn't have made it.
KCTV5 News reports that Aiken's opponent in the primary - Keith Crisco - has died following a fall at his home. The official report states that Crisco was standing near his front door when he tripped on a rug and hit his head on some bricks. There aren't a lot more details available beyond that, but Crisco's company - Asheboro Elastics Corp. - has been notified.
As you can imagine, the news has come to a shock to everybody, including Aiken. Usually, he would be celebrating while preparing for his upcoming battle with Rep. Renee Ellmers for the second district. Instead, his campaign Web site has been replaced with the following message:
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.
So, what's next? Crisco initially disputed the results of the election and the State Board of Elections hasn't said if it will still look over the results. It's also being said that Crisco was going to concede to Aiken anyway so it's hard to say what will happen now.
Until then, Crisco's family might be pleased to know that an outpouring of support for the late candidate has started to emerge on Twitter:
I'm still in shock over the news of Keith Crisco's passing. Condolences to his family, friends & colleagues. pic.twitter.com/Tmex558HbC
— crismulder (@crismulder) May 14, 2014
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.
— Clay Aiken (@ClayForNC) May 12, 2014
Asheboro remembers Keith Crisco. As an employer, public servant & friend he touched the lives of many. pic.twitter.com/rIMZbTbA8l
— Steve Sbraccia (@steveswncn) May 13, 2014
Of course, there are some people who think every coincidence is a conspiracy and have taken to Twitter to suggest that Crisco's death may have been orchestrated:
friendly reminder that clay aiken put a hit on his opponent in a democratic primary and that's why keith crisco died
— Ben Creech (@shiek276) May 14, 2014
Poor Keith Crisco. The mistake you made was to go up against #ClayAiken Covert operation entitled"The Ruben Incident" could not be repeated.
— Michael Alan (@MichaelAlanATL) May 14, 2014
And perhaps worst of all, a state representative from North Dakota isn't above making a distasteful House of Cards reference:
An ambitious Democratic Carolina politician not above...murder? Is it Frank Underwood...or Clay Aiken? http://t.co/EXMSSSP3Jp dun dun!
— Rep. Ben Hanson (@BenjaminWHanson) May 13, 2014
Image via The News & Observer/YouTube