Cal Cunningham Concedes North Carolina Senate Race to Sen. Thom Tillis

Cal Cunningham
AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Democrat United States Senate candidate Cal Cunningham has conceded the race to Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), they both announced on Tuesday.

Cunningham, an Army Reserve lieutenant colonel and military lawyer who was caught late in his campaign having at least one extramarital affair, said in a statement:

I just called Senator Tillis to congratulate him on winning re-election to a second term in the U.S. Senate and wished him and his family the best in their continued service in the months and years ahead.

He did not mention his affair in the statement, which many believe cost him the race. Cunningham had been leading in polls, but support for him began sagging after the National File first broke news in early October of the affair with Arlene Guzman Todd, a public relations strategist who is married to a disabled combat Army veteran.

After National File published text messages between Guzman Todd and Cunningham that were sexual in nature, Cunningham apologized for the text messages, but did not deny or confirm the affair and spent the following days avoiding the press.

In one text message to Guzman Todd, Cunningham wrote: “Would make my day to roll over and kiss you about now.”

In another exchange, Guzman Todd wrote to 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.” He responded: “Sounds so hot and fun.”

Later, she wrote: “When can I see you? I want to kiss you.” He responded: “And I kiss back. A lot.”

Guzman Todd then confirmed the affair to the Associated Press, which revealed that at least one encounter between the them happened in July, at Cunningham’s family home that he shares with his wife and two children, which Guzman Todd texted a friend, in messages that became public, was “weird.”

She also threatened to release naked photos of Cunningham to his opponent if he did not pay more attention to her. “I’m just going to send to his opponent his naked photos,” she wrote. “That will teach him.”

She also reportedly donated $1,1135.20 to Cunningham’s campaign.

The Army Reserve began an investigation into Cunningham, since extramarital affairs are against the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Cunningham refused to address whether there were more affairs that had not come to light yet. He was later photographed leaving his sister’s home, where he was reportedly living after being kicked out of his home by his wife.

Tillis also put out a statement via Twitter:

Earlier this afternoon, Cal Cunningham called me to offer his concession. This was a hard-fought campaign and I wish nothing but the best to Cal and his family going forward.

I am incredibly humbled by the chance to serve the people of North Carolina in the United States Senate for six more years and I pledge to continue keeping my promises and delivering results.

I know that my job is fighting for the jobs of the hardworking people of our state, which is why my first post-election priority will be defeating COVID-19 and getting the economy back on track.

I am incredibly humbled by the chance to serve the people of North Carolina in the United States Senate for six more years and I pledge to continue keeping my promises and delivering results.

I know that my job is fighting for the jobs of the hardworking people of our state, which is why my first post-election priority will be defeating COVID-19 and getting the economy back on track.

North Carolinians have a solid record of weathering storms and coming back stronger than ever. I am confident that we all can come together and meet this moment and am ready to get to work.

 

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