It wasn’t long ago that the Democratic Party was counting on North Carolina candidate Cal Cunningham to defeat Sen. Thom Tillis and help them retake the Senate in November. However, after lurid texts surfaced showing that Cunningham appears to be having an affair, the race has been thrown into chaos. Cunningham was scheduled to take part in a town hall event on Monday night, but he canceled the event at the last minute, clearly eager to avoid the harsh spotlight in the wake of the scandal.
“He’s unable to attend today but looks forward to continue to work to earn the opportunity to fight for North Carolinians,” a spokeswoman for the candidate said.
Cunningham’s inappropriate relationship with a California PR strategist came to light thanks to a website called NationalFile.com, which reported on the texts. In a statement released on Friday, an apologetic Cunningham confirmed that the texts were authentic.
“I have hurt my family, disappointed my friends, and am deeply sorry. The first step in repairing those relationships is taking complete responsibility, which I do. I ask that my family’s privacy be respected in this personal matter,” Cunningham said. “I remain grateful and humbled by the ongoing support that North Carolinians have extended in this campaign, and in the remaining weeks before this election I will continue to work to earn the opportunity to fight for the people of our state.”
The Democratic candidate is married with two children. Up until this scandal broke, he was leading in the race against Tillis, who is a prominent Republican and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Tillis, meanwhile, has contracted the coronavirus, which only adds to the chaos of this important political contest.
In the reported texts, Cunningham send a number of racy messages to Arlene Guzman Todd.
In one, he said, “Would make my day to roll over and kiss you about now.”
At another point, the PR strategist texted back: “I have flexibility this month — done with school, training, big RFPs, etc. So the only thing I want on my to do list is you.”
It remains to be seen if Cunningham’s scandal will sink his chances of winning the contest…and play a significant role in causing Democrats to fall short of their goal to put the Senate back into their hands.