Clay Aiken praises primary opponent Keith Crisco after his death

RALEIGH, N.C. - Former "American Idol" singer Clay Aiken praised the North Carolina entrepreneur who died as he trailed him in a too-close-to-call Democratic primary for a Congressional seat, saying Keith Crisco never forgot his humble beginnings.

A statement from his family says the 71-year-old Crisco died Monday after an accidental fall at his home in Asheboro, about 65 miles west of Raleigh.

Aiken was leading Crisco by fewer than 400 votes after the contest last Tuesday.

Aiken issued a statement calling Crisco "a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant."

A spokesman for the state elections board says if enough new votes turn up to make Crisco the winner, local Democrats will select a new nominee. If not, he says Aiken will be the nominee.

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