RALEIGH – The U.S. Senate race in North Carolina, after already being one of the most expensive races in history, has just taken a turn. Yes; incumbent Republican Thom Tillis has tested positive for the coronavirus. No; that’s not the turn we’re referring to.
Rather, the campaign for Cal Cunningham has confirmed the authenticity of ‘sext messages’ between the married father of two and another married woman, that is not his wife, as first reported in the National File.
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— Brian Murphy (@MurphinDC) October 3, 2020
Far from a Carolina BBQ faux pas, this is a big deal that speaks to the character of a candidate and how he treats his own family.
The text messages in question were provided by a source to National File reporter Patrick Howley:
With 100 days to go before his statewide election, in one of the biggest senate races in the country, with positive electoral prospects and more eyes on him than ever before, Cal Cunningham was ‘sexting’ a woman that was not his wife.
What’s more, according to the original reporting, the indicated woman, Arlene Guzman Todd, is also married, to an Army Veteran. From National File‘s Patrick Howley:
“[…] Arlene Guzman Todd has been recently listed as media director of a marijuana public relations company and has been a California State University lecturer. Arlene Guzman Todd’s husband Jeremy Todd has been an active duty servicemember. Jeremy Todd was an Army Sergeant First Class who served 15 years in the U.S. Army with five combat deployments including in Iraq and Afghanistan, then studied at the University of Southern California in a determined bid to support his young family. […]”
Whoever the source is, the screen grabs appear to have come from Guzman Todd’s phone.
Up until now, the most expensive congressional race in North Carolina history came with pretty standard fare in terms of attack ads. (Butler pantries and wet bars.)
Now, Cunningham has created for himself a massive headwind with independent voters that ‘vote for the man, not the party.’ That is to say nothing of the suffering his actions are putting his wife and family through while under the heat of a national spotlight.
The latest polls put Cunningham ahead of Tillis, but not by much. As a relatively unpopular incumbent with the conservative base, Tillis’ only real chances of retaining his seat were to ride the coat tails of President Donald Trump, or have his opponent step in it.
If you’ve heard the radio ads attacking Cunningham over the last several weeks, and are now learning that he’s been cheating on his wife and family while also running for office, you might be thinking, “Really Cal?!”