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Democrat candidate’s affairs upend NC Senate race

Democrat Senatorial candidate Cal Cunningham (NC) continued to take body-blows to his campaign this week as the Associated Press (AP) revealed text messages between Cunningham and an alleged lover that revealed the relationship was more than just texting.

“Previously undisclosed text messages obtained by The Associated Press and additional interviews show that the relationship extended beyond suggestive texts, as was previously reported, to an intimate encounter as recent as July,” says the Associated Press.

Cunningham, 47, is running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Thom Tillis, a Republican. The most recent polls show the pair in a virtual dead heat prior to the latest revelations. A Senate pick-up in North Carolina is considered a key in the Democrats’ attempt to regain control of the U.S. Senate.  

The AP says that Tillis is “ill positioned to force the issue after disclosing hours before the text messages were made public that he has contracted the coronavirus.”

One Democrat, Michael Harf, echoed the AP judgment saying that a Republican catching COVID is as bad as a Democrat having an affair.

“I won’t be shocked if there’s frankly no movement in the polls because of the two incidents that occurred,” said Harf. “People are going to say, ‘Huh, he got COVID’ and ‘Huh, he had an affair.’”

But Tillis has said that this isn’t the only case of a Cunningham extra-marital affair.

“Tillis’s comments alluded to an unconfirmed comment on Facebook by civil rights lawyer Erin Brinkman of California who said her friend has had a relationship with Cunningham since 2012. Brinkman did not name her friend,” says the Fayetteville Observer.

One professional cited by the AP says that the campaign will be that much tougher for Cunningham after the candidate campaigned on his character.

“It was a character-first campaign, and it was as much about who Cal Cunningham is than what Cal Cunningham stands for — and that’s a harder sell today than it was last week,” Chris Cooper, a political science professor at Western Carolina University, said Tuesday.

And the Charlotte Observer says that concern goes much deeper, that people might have been fooled by Cunningham.

“Finally, there’s a concern that Cunningham — an Army reservist who talks regularly about honor, a husband who leverages his marriage as a campaign asset — may not be the person he says he is,” says the paper’s editorial board, demanding that the Democrat level with voters.  

Previously Cunningham had apologized for an inappropriate relationship that he said was confined to just text messaging.

“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 in a statement last Friday after the affair surfaced.

Local station WRAL says that the Army Reserve is investigating the allegations, as Cunningham is a Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserves in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

Adultery, while difficult to prove, is punishable under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

PHOTO: AP Photo/Gerry Broome, Pool

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