Clay Aiken, Keith Crisco Clay Aiken, Keith Crisco

Former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken has won the Democratic nomination for a Congressional seat in North Carolina, a day after his opponent in the race died suddenly, The Associated Press reports.

Aiken had been locked in a too-close-to-call primary election with Keith Crisco, a North Carolina entrepreneur. Crisco, 71, died Monday after a fall at his home in Asheboro, and trailed Aiken by fewer than 400 votes at the time of his death.

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Aiken released a statement after learning of Crisco's death, calling his opponent "a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant."

Aiken will face Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers in the general election in November.

Crisco served as Commerce secretary and was North Carolina's top business recruiter. He received a master's degree in business administration from Harvard, and also served in the Commerce Department under President Richard Nixon.

Watch video of Aiken talking about his Congressional campaign here.