Tillis calls on Cunningham to admit whether a 2nd extramarital affair happened

North Carolina Politics

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Republican Sen. Thom Tillis on Tuesday called on his Democratic opponent Cal Cunningham to say whether he’s had a second affair following a recent report.

Tillis has focused on the issue in the campaign’s final days as Cunningham has declined to discuss specifics about his personal life.

“After the first extramarital affair with the wife of a wounded warrior came out, now we have a second affair that he’s refused to admit to. He’s under investigation by the Army. It may very well be that he’s decided he’s not going to make any more statements that are incriminating,” Tillis said in an interview with CBS 17 Tuesday.

Sen. Tillis referred to a report by the conservative website National File, which earlier this month broke the story of a series of text messages between Cunningham and Arlene Guzman Todd. She told the Associated Press the two were intimate this summer in the midst of the campaign. Cunningham is married with two children.

Over the weekend, the same website published a story claiming Cunningham had a second affair. CBS 17 has reached out to the Cunningham campaign over the last several days, but representatives for Cunningham have neither confirmed nor denied the report. CBS 17, which is not naming the woman mentioned in the report, has also attempted to reach her for comment but has not heard back.

“The arrogance alone is enough that it should make him drop out of the race and try and reconcile his family and rebuild his reputation. But, this is all going on while he’s got a campaign on truth and honor,” Tillis said.

Cunningham has led in polling over Tillis, but recent polls have shown the race tightening. A poll CBS 17 conducted with Emerson College last week found Cunningham leading Tillis 45-44. An ABC News/Washington Post poll out Tuesday has Cunningham up 49-47. That’s within the margin of error in each poll.

In a statement to CBS 17, Cunningham spokesperson Rachel Petri did not address the recent allegation.

She wrote, “This is more of the same desperation we’ve seen from Senator Tillis because he cannot defend his record of denying people health care coverage and botching the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Cunningham has not taken questions from reporters since Oct. 9, when he declined to say whether he had more than one affair.

Since news of the scandal broke, Cunningham has tried to focus the race on health care and the stalled negotiations over a new COVID-19 relief bill.

“Thom Tillis will not stop until he’s successful in eliminating the Affordable Care Act, even though he and his party have no plan to replace it,” Cunningham said. Reporters did not have an opportunity during that call to ask him questions.

State Democratic Party leaders have said they still support Cunningham, though Gov. Roy Cooper called the situation “frustrating” in a conversation with former Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday.

The CBS17/Emerson College poll found 46 percent of voters told us the issue makes “no difference” in their decision to vote for Cunningham. Additionally, 12 percent said they were more likely, while 38 percent said they were less likely.

As CBS17 reported Monday, the Senate race has become the most expensive in U.S. history as Democrats view it as key to their path to retaking the Senate majority. According to Advertising Analytics, $241 million has been spent on the race.

Tillis said, “Cal Cunningham’s lack of integrity affects him as a U.S. Senator. Why should we believe anything that he said to get elected?”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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