RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — 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.
Crisco, 71, died Monday after an accidental fall at his home in Asheboro, about 65 miles west of Raleigh, according to a statement from his family.
Aiken was leading Crisco by fewer than 400 votes after the contest last Tuesday.
“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 in a statement. “He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant. I was honored to know him.”
If enough new votes turn up to make Crisco the winner, local Democrats would select a new nominee, state elections board spokesman Josh Lawson said. If not, Aiken will be the nominee, he said. The vote is expected to be certified Thursday.
The nominee will face Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers in November in the GOP-leaning 2nd Congressional District.
Crisco had been North Carolina’s top business recruiter for four years under former Gov. Beverly Perdue, who left office in 2013.
“I asked him to … be Commerce secretary during the worst economic times since the Great Depression,” Perdue said in a statement. “He accepted that responsibility without hesitation because he loved this state and wanted to help when times were hard.”
Crisco was born to a Republican family on a Stanly County dairy farm in North Carolina, he said in an interview last month.
“I did pull corn. I did plow. I did milk cows. I did do all the things you do on a small farm,” Crisco said.
He got a scholarship to study science at the county’s Pfeiffer University. There, he met his wife and her family of yellow-dog Democrats, and Crisco said he converted.
He went to Harvard University to study for a master’s of business administration, which he received in 1968, then returned to North Carolina to work for textile giant Burlington Industries. In the early 1970s, Crisco was selected as a White House Fellow, and he spent a year in President Richard Nixon’s Commerce Department.
In 1986, Crisco and partners formed Asheboro Elastics to produce elastics for home furnishings and medical and industrial uses. He joked that the company’s mission was to “hold your underwear up.” The company was renamed AEC Narrow Fabrics and is now run by hired executives, his sons and a son-in-law.
Crisco’s business success allowed him to lend more than $500,000 to his campaign against Aiken, according to financial statements filed last month.
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(Photo Source: AP)
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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