Senate Democrat Nominee Cunningham Owes Voters Explanation After Sexting Scandal: Sen. Tillis

October 6, 2020 Updated: October 6, 2020

The Democrats’ North Carolina Senate nominee owes voters an explanation for the sexually suggestive text messages he sent a woman who is not his wife, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said Tuesday.

Cal Cunningham, the nominee, is trying to beat Tillis in the upcoming election.

Cunningham, 49, admitted last week that he sent the text messages to a cannabis consultant.

“I have hurt my family, disappointed my friends, and am deeply sorry,” Cunningham said in a brief statement. “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.”

Tillis said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” that Cunningham “is trying to finesse it as an errant text, but we now have a second report.”

“I think Cal owes the people of North Carolina a full explanation. On the debate stage last week, Cal said it’s about integrity and I agree. His family should be kept private, he’s got teenage children but Cal owes North Carolinians, all of the voters a full and thorough explanation for what we now know are two separate events,” the senator added.

“And he is an officer in the military. He’s subject to disciplinary action.”

The website National File initially published the texts. The website published a second allegation on Monday.

Thom TIllis CCP virus
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing to examine the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation in Washington on Sept. 30, 2020. (Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

A lawyer said that a good friend of hers, a different woman than the consultant, was having an affair with Cunningham since 2012.

Cunningham’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.

According to WUNC, Cunningham pulled out of a town hall that was scheduled for Oct. 5.

“I’m disappointed for the organizers who worked hard to put this together; also that we will not hear from Cunningham about sexually suggestive texts he sent to a woman (not his wife, nor mother of his children). Fascinated to see when he publicly addresses this,” Jeff Tiberii of WUNC wrote on Twitter.

Tillis, 60, was speaking on Fox remotely. He tested positive for COVID-19 last week and is isolating at home.

Tillis said he is showing no symptoms and feels great.

The senator says he will likely participate in the Senate Judiciary Committee vetting of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, which begins on Oct. 12, remotely for several days but should be able to travel to Washington for the vote on advancing the nomination later in the week.

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