TIME 2014 Election

Clay Aiken Wins Congressional Primary After Opponent Dies

Clay Aiken speaks to supporters during an election night watch party in Holly Springs, N.C., May 6, 2014.
Clay Aiken speaks to supporters during an election night watch party in Holly Springs, N.C., May 6, 2014. Gerry Broome—AP

The former American Idol contestant was declared victor in a Democratic congressional primary, with 40% of the vote, a day after his main competitor Keith Crisco suffered a fall and died

Former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken was declared the winner of a Democratic congressional primary in North Carolina, election officials said Tuesday, a day after his main competitor in the race died.

Keith Crisco died Monday after suffering a fall in his home; he was 71. The two had been vying for the Democratic nomination to take on incumbent Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers. The race had been too close to call ever since the May 6 primary election, but unofficial election results posted online showed that the singer-turned-candidate won just over 40% of the vote in the three-person race—edging his late opponent by less than 400 votes.

Crisco’s campaign manager said the candidate died shortly after deciding he would concede to Aiken, the Associated Press reports.

The results will become official after they are reviewed by the state election board on May 22.

Aiken said he would pause his campaign out of respect for Crisco’s family and friends.

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