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Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham canceled a Monday town hall as his campaign struggles to deal with the fallout of a sexting scandal that broke last week.
Cunningham, who is running for Senate in North Carolina, suddenly pulled out of a town hall scheduled for Monday afternoon, sending organizers scrambling as they try and rebook Cunningham for a later date. Cunningham pulled out of the event after leaked texts suggested he was having an affair.
“He’s unable to attend today but looks forward to continue to work to earn the opportunity to fight for North Carolinians,” a Cunningham spokeswoman said. Cunningham has largely stayed away from the public since the scandal broke, and the town hall would have been the first chance for voters to hear him address the scandal in person rather than through a statement to the press.
Cunningham spokeswoman confirms he is not participating in the town hall scheduled for 3pm today. No response yet to other questions.
"He's unable to attend today but looks forward to continue to work to earn the opportunity to fight for North Carolinians." https://t.co/I5Gopbc9ED
— James Arkin (@JamesArkin) October 5, 2020
“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.”
Cunningham is married with two teenage children. He is running against incumbent GOP Sen. Thom Tillis, who tested positive for the coronavirus Friday evening. Cunningham’s sexting scandal and Tillis’s positive COVID-19 test have thrown the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina into “chaos,” according to Meredith College political science professor David McLennan.
Tillis is self-isolating at his home in North Carolina. Tillis is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee responsible for clearing Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett through committee and onto the floor of the Senate for a confirmation vote.
Cunningham has been leading in the race against Tillis. In third quarter fundraising, Cunningham set a North Carolina record, raking in $28.3 million in donations over the past three months. Cunningham also held a 6.5 point edge in polling ahead of Tillis, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average for the race. All polls included in the average were taken before Cunningham’s scandal and Tillis’s positive COVID-19 test.
Cunningham’s texts suggest that he was having an affair with a California public relations strategist.
As The Daily Wire reports:
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.