Day after death, Crisco finishes 2nd to Aiken in Congress race - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Day after death, Crisco finishes 2nd to Aiken in Congress race

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Clay Aiken retained his lead over the late Keith Crisco for the Democratic nomination in North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District after the State Board of Elections completed a voter canvass Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday's canvass came just a day after Crisco, a successful Asheboro businessman and later secretary of the N.C. Department of Commerce, died suddenly at his Asheboro home.

Heading into the canvass, Aiken was credited with 11,634 votes, while Crisco had 11,265 and Fayetteville's Toni Morris had 5,593 votes. The canvass showed that Aiken had gained a few votes to 11,678 -- at 40.8 percent -- and Crisco was second at 11,288.

Morris gained an addition 23 votes.

The state must now certify the election, which will happen later this month. The Democratic nominee will then face Republican incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers in November.

Although Aiken had crossed the threshold to avoid a runoff following the May 6 primary, Crisco, 71, refused to concede the election until all votes were counted.

But Crisco's stunning death Monday put the race in unexpected territory.

Had Aiken and Crisco switched positions following Tuesday's canvass and Crisco earned enough votes to avoid a runoff, the N.C. BOE explained that the Democratic Party Executive Committee in his district would be tasked with naming a Democratic nominee for the 2nd Congressional District.

If the canvass brought Aiken within the 1 percent margin for a recount, BOE spokesman Josh Lawson said Crisco would have been the one to request the recount.

"Unfortunately he's no longer with us and unable to do so," Lawson said on Monday.

Veteran political consultant Brad Crone said he spoke with Crisco earlier Monday and Crisco planned to concede.

"At his instruction, I had called Gary Pearce to convey that Keith was going to concede the election tomorrow morning and would be calling Mr. Aiken to congratulate him," Crone wrote in an email.

In response to Crisco's death, Aiken said he planned to suspend all campaign activities "as we pray for [Crisco's] family and friends."

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