A Democratic Senate nominee admitted Friday that he sent sexually suggestive text messages to a woman who is not his wife, but refused to drop out of the race for one of two seats representing North Carolina.
The National File website published texts between Cal Cunningham and the woman, showing they made plans to spend the night together.
Cunningham’s campaign confirmed the messages were authentic.
“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.”
Cunningham is married and has two children with his wife, Elizabeth Cunningham.
The texts were exchanged with Arlene Todd Guzman, a media director for a marketing company called Potnt. According to the company’s website, Guzman is currently working as a media relations consultant in the cannabis industry.
Guzman, whose LinkedIn page was taken down, couldn’t be reached for comment.
Guzman wrote in one text, “Pick a day, city, make up an excuse for the fam, ditch a staffer, starch your white shirt, and be ready to kiss a lot.”
Cunningham at one point sent her happy birthday wishes for one of her children. “Cannot believe he’s 8 years old!!! He was so little when we met!” he said.
In another, he wrote that he was anxious “about the next 100 days.” That would place the dates the texts were sent in the middle of the summer.
Cunningham is seeking to unseat Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), as Democrats try to flip the Senate.
Tillis’s campaign hasn’t commented on the messages.
Tillis announced earlier Friday that he tested positive for COVID-19.
The senator said he is showing no symptoms and will isolate, per health guidance. Cunningham wished Tillis a quick recovery and said he planned to get tested since he and Tillis debated in person on Oct. 1.