New Cal Cunningham texts revealed as personal scandal roils critical N.C. Senate race

New Cal Cunningham texts revealed as personal scandal roils critical N.C. Senate race
A race in North Carolina critical to control of the U.S. Senate has been thrown into turmoil over allegations of personal misconduct by Democrat Cal Cunningham, a married man who had an extramarital relationship with a consultant. (Source: Cal Cunningham Campaign Website)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WBTV) - A race in North Carolina critical to control of the U.S. Senate has been thrown into turmoil over allegations of personal misconduct by Democrat Cal Cunningham, a married man who had an extramarital relationship with a consultant.

Previously undisclosed text messages obtained by The Associated Press and additional interviews show that the relationship extended beyond suggestive texts to an intimate encounter as recently as July.

The full Associated Press article can be found here.

Cunningham’s personal indiscretion offers a fresh test of whether voters will punish candidates for their private, consensual activity, and the answer they deliver could determine which party wields power in the Senate.

Cunningham’s campaign has been providing this statement from Cunningham in response to the scandal.

“I have hurt my family, disappointed my friends, and am deeply sorry. The first step in repairing those relationships is taking complete responsibility, which I do. I ask that my family’s privacy be respected in this personal matter. I remain grateful and humbled by the ongoing support that North Carolinians have extended in this campaign, and in the remaining weeks before this election I will continue to work to earn the opportunity to fight for the people of our state,” the statement reads.

Cunningham is challenging Republican Sen. Thom Tillis. Tillis, who is recovering from the coronavirus, tweeted about Cunningham Tuesday evening.

“Cal Cunningham has said, “In North Carolina, the truth still matters.” I agree. He owes North Carolinians a full explanation,” Tillis wrote.

Cunningham’s campaign provided an additional statement in response to what they say is “Republicans already using this to attack Cal.”

“Senator Tillis and his allies are trying to exploit a personal matter and ignoring a family’s request for privacy to make desperate attacks in hopes they can distract from Senator Tillis' record of blocking Medicaid expansion, voting to take protections away from North Carolinians with pre-existing conditions, and failing to pass needed COVID-19 relief for our communities,” campaign spokesman Aaron Simpson said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. WBTV contributed to this story.