North Carolina Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham, a married father of two, says he will stay in the race after admitting to exchanging inappropriate text messages with a woman who is not his wife.
The Raleigh News & Observer reports that Cunningham and California public relations strategist Arlene Guzman Todd talked about kissing and more in several texts this summer.
A report in NationalFile.com includes pictures of some of the text messages, including one in which Cunningham writes “Would make my day to roll over and kiss you about now.”
In another from Guzman, she writes “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 Cunningham campaign confirmed the text messages and Cunningham has apologized in a statement sent to the News & Observer.
“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,” said Cunningham, 47.
With less than a month until Election Day, Cunningham has been leading in the polls against incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, who said Friday he had tested positive for COVID-19. Cunningham, who debated Tillis on Thursday, said he tested negative for coronavirus and plans to take another test Monday.
Over the weekend, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which endorsed Cunningham during the primary campaign, said they’re sticking by him and will continue to run ads on his behalf in North Carolina, the N&O reports.
Cunningham’s scandal isn’t the first for a national Democratic candidate from North Carolina. In 2007, presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator John Edwards denied a report in the National Enquirer that he had an extramarital affair with a former campaign staffer. The next year, after losing the Democratic presidential primary to Barack Obama, Edwards admitted to the affair. He later admitted to having a child as a result of the affair.
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