Cal Cunningham, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in North Carolina, admitted Friday night to sending text messages to a woman other than his wife. The content of the messages was sexual in nature.
Cunningham is running to unseat incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), who recently tested positive for the coronavirus. Cunningham had been leading in the polls and told the Observer Friday night that he would not drop out.
“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 told the outlet in a statement. “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 text messages were between Cunningham and California public relations strategist Arlene Guzman Todd. In one message, Cunningham wrote: “Would make my day to roll over and kiss you about now.”
At one point, Guzman texted him: “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.”
The texts do not contain dates, but one from Cunningham stated that he was “nervous about the next 100 days,” possibly alluding to the election. One hundred days before the election is around July 26.
As the Observer reported, Todd “donated $100 on April 2, $250 on April 28 and $100 on Sept. 29,” for a total of $450, according to FEC records.
Cunningham is a Lt. Col. In the U.S. Army Reserve. Joanna Rodriguez, press secretary for the National Republican, suggested the real scandal isn’t Cunningham’s sexting, but the fact that he sent those messages to “someone who isn’t your wife, violating Uniform Code of Military Justice & risking court martial by having an affair w/ someone married to a veteran — all during your campaign centered on your ‘call to duty’ and ‘honor.’”
In another tweet, Rodriguez pointed out how just this week, an interview Cunningham and his wife did with Spectrum News aired, in which the narrator says: “Elizabeth says as voters evaluate their decision this fall, the man her husband presents himself to be in public is who he is in real life.”
Cunningham met his wife in 1997. The couple have two children together, both of whom are teenagers.
Cunningham and Tillis debated Thursday. That same day, Cunningham announced he had raised $28.3 million for his campaign in the third quarter.
Tillis is one of three senators to test positive for the coronavirus since President Donald Trump announced he had tested positive. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) also tested positive.
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