Dem Senate Candidate Admits to Sexts, Won't Drop Out

Cal Cunningham, challenging NC GOP Sen. Thom Tillis, was sexting woman who was not his wife
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2020 8:30 AM CDT
Dem Senate Candidate Admits to Sexts, Won't Drop Out
Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham speaks during a televised debate with US Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, Pool, file)

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis announced Friday that he has tested positive for COVID-19. Now, bad news for his Democratic challenger, though for something completely unrelated to the virus. Cal Cunningham is apologizing after his campaign confirmed Friday that the married father of two teens had been sexting with a California PR strategist, though he also has no intention of dropping out of the race, per the News & Observer. The National File, which first reported on the story, has photos of the texts, which seem to suggest that Cunningham—a lawyer and lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves who married his wife in 1997—and strategist Arlene Guzman Todd have met up in person before. "I've had the most amazing dreams of our time together," Cunningham writes in one text. "Would make my day to roll over and kiss you about now."

"You're so sweet. I would enjoy that," Todd replies, also imploring Cunningham to "get away for a night soon" because "I want a night with you." Cunningham's response: "Sounds wonderful—I want that too!!! Very badly." Although it's unclear when the texts were sent, one of the ones Cunningham sent mentions he's "nervous about the next 100 days," which the News & Observer notes could indicate Election Day; that would place the date of that text around the end of July. "I have hurt my family, disappointed my friends, and am deeply sorry," Cunningham said in a statement sent to the paper. "The first step in repairing those relationships is taking complete responsibility, which I do." However, he added, he's still vying to unseat Tillis: "In the remaining weeks before this election I will continue to work to earn the opportunity to fight for the people of our state." (More North Carolina stories.)

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