The U.S. Army Reserve is probing the actions of James “Cal” Cunningham, the Democrat nominee for one of two U.S. Senate seats representing North Carolina.
“The Army Reserve is investigating the matters involving Lt. Col. James Cunningham. As such, we are unable to provide further details at this time,” Army Reserve spokesman Lt. Col. Simon Flake said in a statement to The Epoch Times on Oct. 7.
Rachel Petri, a spokeswoman for Cunningham’s campaign, told The Epoch Times via email, “Cal will participate in this process, but it does not change the stakes of this election or the need for new leaders who will fight for the issues North Carolinians care about instead of caving to the corporate special interests—which is exactly what Senator Tillis has done in his years in Washington.”
Cunningham, 47, sent sexually suggestive text messages to a woman that is not his wife, he admitted last week.
“I have hurt my family, disappointed my friends, and am deeply sorry,” Cunningham said in a statement to news outlets. “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.”
The woman, Arlene Guzman Todd, a public relations strategist based in California, told the Associated Press on Monday that she met with Cunningham in Los Angeles in March and in North Carolina in July. She said they had an affair.
Guzman Todd said in a statement to the outlet that she wanted to apologize for the “pain and embarrassment, and disrespect I’ve caused to my immediate family, loved ones, and everyone affected by this situation.”
“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.
Cunningham told a local broadcaster on Wednesday that he wanted to focus on issues, not his personal life.
“I’ve made it clear that I’ve hurt my family and that I’ve disappointed my supporters. And I’m taking responsibility for that,” Cunningham told CBS 17. “I’m very clear that this campaign isn’t about my personal life, it’s about the people of North Carolina, it’s about the issues that are important for North Carolinians.”
He said his campaign would be happy to cooperate with the U.S. Army Reserve investigation.
He then declined to say when the affair had started.
Cunningham has declined to drop out of the race.
Cunningham is trying to unseat first-term Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
Tillis, 60, said Tuesday that Cunningham owes voters a detailed explanation of his affair.
In a statement Wednesday, he noted the new investigation.
“Cal Cunningham is now under investigation by the U.S. Army Reserve. He owes North Carolinians a full explanation. The truth still matters in North Carolina, Cal,” Tillis said on Twitter.
It’s not clear how the situation will influence voters one way or another.
Fifty-eight percent of respondents to a poll conducted this week said they had heard of Cunningham having a relationship with his woman who is not his wife. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said the information made them less likely to vote for him. Another 58 percent said it doesn’t make a difference.