Thom Tillis is back in the Senate after a hard-fought race in which he tested positive for COVID-19 after flouting mask guidelines in the final weeks of the campaign – at the same time the race came from his Democratic opponent was marred by an extramarital affair. sexting scandal.
Former Sen. Cal Cunningham called on Tillis to concede on Tuesday and released a declaration to say, “The voters have spoken and I respect their decision.”
“While the results of this election suggest that deep political divisions remain in our state and nation, our country’s fuller story lies in what unites us: our faith and confidence in our democracy, our values. civics and common humanity, our shared aspiration to care for one another and our belief that we live in a country that does exceptional things, ”the statement said.
Tillis was considered one of the most vulnerable GOP senators in the country, especially given North Carolina’s position as the pivotal state that remained competitive in the presidential race throughout the election. .
Cunningham gave Tillis’ campaign adjustments for much of the cycle, as the military veteran and political centrist proved difficult to define as an ordinary liberal despite the Republican’s best efforts.
Tillis attacked Cunningham as someone who “would say anything to get elected,” given his ambitions for an elected post.
His re-election appeared to be out of reach in the final weeks of the campaign in which Tillis tested positive for the coronavirus following the White House super-spray event surrounding Amy Coney Barrett’s announcement as the last candidate for the Supreme Court.
But then Cunningham himself found his campaign shrouded in scandal after secret and romantic texts with a woman who wasn’t his wife surfaced on a right-wing website called National File. Shortly after, the Associated Press reported that the relationship between the Senate candidate and a political strategist named Arlene Guzman Todd also included “an intimate encounter.”
Amid the controversy surrounding Tillis, North Carolina news station WRAL reported that the Army Reserve said in a statement in October that it was “investigating matters involving Lt. Col. James Cunningham. As such, we are unable to provide further details at this time. “
The controversy breathed new life into Tillis’ campaign and the Republican lawmaker jumped at the chance. At every stage of the campaign leading up to the election – including a Trump rally in Fayetteville on Nov. 2 with thousands of attendees – Tillis brought up the revelations of the affair in order to demonstrate that Cunningham was untrustworthy.
“He ran a campaign, spent tens of millions of dollars, looking at the camera and saying, ‘Truth and honor matter.’ This is the foundation of his campaign, “Tillis said during a campaign stop in Cunningham’s hometown of Lexington on Nov. 2.” And his personal actions have definitely proven that he is neither honest nor honorable.
“Cal Cunningham is trying to run out of time on his lies that have earned him an investigation by the US Army, but the North Carolinians are seeing right through him,” Tillis tweeted on October 24.
Still, heading into the home stretch of the campaign, Cunningham had a huge spending and fundraising advantage over the incumbent’s own campaign. Campaign fundraising records up to mid-October show Cunningham raised over $ 47 million, but also spent over $ 46 million. Tillis, on the other hand, has raised over $ 22 million and spent over $ 19 million.
That didn’t stop Tillis from winning out over Cunningham, in a victory for Republicans who had started to abandon the GOP’s idea of maintaining control of the US Senate.
With additional reporting from Sam Brodey
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