North Carolina Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham has evidently avoided answering questions about whether further claims of extremarital affairs might arise in future.
Questions posed to the candidate emerged during a conference call when it was suggested that his personal life had become “fair game” given his own comments about his personal life, for which he said he had already taken responsibility.
Polls have consistently given Cunningham a lead over the Republican incumbent, Thom Tillis, in the race for U.S. Senate. As The Atlantic reported, he was supposed to be the boring candidate but the news about an allegedly intimate relationship have proved anything but so far as the news media and electorate are concerned.
Cunningham is a former state senator and an Army veteran, and the former Kilpatrick Stockton attorney received a bronze star for service in Iraq as LawFuel previously reported.
The Atlantic noted that Cunningham “isn’t an especially notable personality, and he hasn’t taken any especially notable policy stands. But running against Tillis, who is not especially popular, especially well known, or especially charismatic himself, that seemed like it might be enough. Then came the sexting scandal.”
And there began the bad press for Cal Cunningham.
“Let me be clear, I’ve taken responsibility for the hurt I’ve caused in my personal life,” Cunningham said. “I’ve apologized for it, and I know that this campaign, our campaign is about things that are much bigger and more important than just me.”
“North Carolinians are looking for somebody who is going to take on the monumental challenges ahead of us,” he said with reference to the COVID-19 battle.
But reporters were intent on asking about his need to be clearer on issues relating to women who might come forward regarding allegations of relationships with him and the distraction it would cause him if elected.
Cunningham was reportedly asked four times about whether more allegations could surface in the future after it was disclosed that he was under investigation by the US Army Reserve about the allegations.
Cunningham agreed earlier that a series of sexual text messages he exchanged with a woman who is not his wife with both parties identified online as the wife of an army veteran.
“I am deeply sorry for the hurt I have caused in my personal life and I also apologize to all of you. And I hope each of you watching at home accept this sincere apology and that we will continue to work together to change the direction of our country and strengthen our state,” Cunningham said.
The text messages and interviews offered a view if Cunningham that is at odds with the image of a devoted family man as has been painted of the candidate. The conservative website, NationalFile.com, published text messages between Cunningham and Arlene Guzman Todd, a public relations strategist from California, that suggested a personal relationship.
The Associated Press report of the texts, which are between Guzman Todd and a friend, provide a specific timeline about their recent relationship, as well as details that describe intimate encounters which was more than one involving mere texting.
In a series of interviews late Monday as well as in the text messages, Guzman Todd described two in-person encounters with Cunningham. One was in March in Los Angeles that she said did not include intimate contact, and a second was in July in North Carolina, where she said they were intimate.
“A few months back, I displayed a lapse in judgment by engaging in a relationship with Cal Cunningham during a period of marital separation,” Guzman Todd said. “The relationship spanned several months and consisted primarily of a series of text exchanges and an in-person encounter.” She did not elaborate, but her text messages described the intimacy.
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