As part of a plan to retake control of the Senate, Democrats have targeted Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) as a vulnerable incumbent who they hope to replace with Senate candidate and Army veteran Cal Cunningham. Cunningham appeared to be on the path to ousting Tillis, that is until news broke recently regarding Cunningham’s alleged multiple affairs.
On Sunday, Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden were caught on a hot mic talking about the “frustrating” situation of having to drag Cunningham across the electoral finish line, The Washington Times reported.
“Get across the line”
After arriving in North Carolina for a brief campaign event, Biden was greeted by Gov. Cooper.
“I think we’re all going to get across the line,” Cooper was overheard saying to the former vice president. “I think Cal’s going to get across the line, too.”
The Times noted that Biden said something in reply to Cooper, but it was not clear what he said on the mic. In response to whatever Biden had said, Cooper stated, “I know that’s frustrating, but we’ll get it across.”
The paper also noted that Biden did not even mention Cunningham by name during the campaign event, a marked difference to how the Biden campaign has handled stops in other areas with important down-ballot races. In Michigan on Friday, for example, Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), who faces a tough challenge from Republican candidate John James, played an integral part in the event for Biden.
The Times reported that it was nearly three weeks ago when the news first emerged that Cunningham had allegedly been engaged in an adulterous relationship with a married woman from California, who has since confirmed the affair occurred.
Meanwhile, as more information about that alleged affair continued to come out over the past few weeks, more allegations of other affairs have also emerged.
The Tillis campaign has not let this opportunity pass them by, and recently released a new ad featuring military veterans sharply criticizing Cunningham for having violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice by having an affair with a fellow Army veteran’s wife, Breitbart reported.
Sinking in the polls
Though The Times pointed out that Cunningham still has a lead in the polls for the Senate race, his once-formidable lead has diminished and his unfavorability rating has gone up. An Emerson College poll has the Democratic challenger barely hanging on with a slim one-point lead over Tillis, 45-44, Breitbart reported.
The veritable free fall of Cunningham’s campaign looks even more dramatic in the RealClearPolitics average of polls for the North Carolina race. The poll currently shows the challenger with a 2.2 point lead over the senator, 46.5-44.3%, down sharply from the 6.6-point lead he held three weeks ago when the affair story first broke, 47.6-41%.
If nothing further comes out regarding Cunningham’s extramarital affairs, then Biden and Cooper may indeed be able to drag the scandalous candidate across the finish line come Election Day, but if the precipitous drop of his poll numbers continues unabated, then Tillis appears to be safe in his bid for another 6-year term and the Democrats will have missed out on gaining a likely flippable seat.