Flipping Republican North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis’ seat blue was long an integral part of Democrats’ plans to take over the Senate this November. But if Dems thought they had put up the perfect candidate for the fight, they now have another think coming.
News first broke just days ago that North Carolina Senate hopeful Cal Cunningham was involved in an extramarital affair — and now, new reports have exposed that it wasn’t just text messages: the Democrat and his alleged mistress also reportedly had a physical relationship.
It’s just the latest sick development in a sex scandal that threatens to derail Cunningham’s election campaign, which, up until recently, was actually faring pretty well.
Sexting scandal erupts
According to TheBlaze, it was last Thursday that a conservative-leaning outlet known as National File published text messages between Cunningham — a married father of two portrayed as a wholesome character — and a public relations strategist named Arlene Guzman Todd, who lives in California.
The revelation led to a public apology from Cunningham on Friday, though he did not call an end to his campaign.
Things took a sharp turn on Monday, however, when an attorney who once worked for Cunningham revealed in a comment on social media that the candidate had been having an affair for some time with one of her friends — a different woman, not Guzman Todd, as TheBlaze reported.
Just hours later, Cunningham dropped out of a scheduled town hall debate with no explanation, but, again, he didn’t drop out of the race.
“Cunningham is afraid”
The plot thickened Tuesday, according to TheBlaze, as the Associated Press reported that it had obtained additional text messages pertaining to Cunningham’s relationship with Guzman Todd “that provide both a more specific timeline about their relationship, which shows it was recent, as well as details that describe intimate encounters — not simply a digital exchange.”
Also on Tuesday, National File published another report alleging that Guzman Todd had received nude photographs of Cunningham that she threatened to leak.
It remains to be seen whether the growing scandal will force Cunningham out of the running. Thus far, he has contended that any mention of the situation by his opponent is simply a distraction from the real issues, Fox News notes.
The Tillis campaign, for its part, has taken a different stance.
“Cunningham is afraid to directly address why and how he betrayed the trust of North Carolinians,” Tillis campaign manager Luke Blanchat said in a statement, according to WRAL in Raleigh, North Carolina. “He offered no explanation for his extramarital affairs, instead choosing to read off an insincere apology written by his campaign consultants from D.C., in line with the fake and insincere persona he is trying to sell to North Carolina.”