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Politics

Senate Candidate Cunningham Talks — But Doesn't Answer Pointed Questions

Cal Cunningham Zoom
Cal for NC
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Cal Cunningham, the North Carolina Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks via Zoom on Friday.

North Carolina U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham refused to answer questions Friday about an alleged affair he had earlier this year.

Earlier this week, Cunningham said he is "deeply sorry for the hurt" he has caused in his personal life.

But in his first news conference since the scandal was disclosed a week ago, he refused to discuss the issue further.

Cunningham was asked whether he'd had other affairs.

“We’ve heard from no less than Senator Tillis himself that this is what he wants to talk about,” Cunningham said during the virtual event. “He wants to talk about this, rather than his failed record. And let me be just completely clear that what North Carolinians want is a Senate candidate and a senator who will focus on their issues.”

He was asked again: Are there any other women?

“Let me be very clear, I’m hearing from North Carolinians that are telling me in no uncertain terms that they want their Senate candidate talking about the issues that we’re talking about right here, today,” he said.

The Cunningham campaign spent most of the news conference talking about COVID-19, and criticizing Republican Thom Tillis for not passing a new relief bill.

Cunningham has made part of his campaign against Tillis about character, citing his service in the Army Reserve.

The Army has opened an investigation into Cunningham, who is a lieutenant colonel and has been a member of the Reserve since 2002. Adultery is prohibited for members of the military, with the maximum punishment of a dishonorable discharge.

Arlene Guzman Todd -– a California PR strategist — told the Associated Press that she had two in-person encounters with Cunningham, most recently in July when they were intimate at his home.

Cunningham is married with two teenage children.

The Tillis campaign issued a statement saying that Cunningham had made his personal life a cornerstone of his campaign, but now "believes questions about his personal life are not relevant." The campaign said he is "unfit for office."

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