“I believe…that if I continue to hold Thom Tillis accountable for his failures, as we have, and I continue to focus on the issues of the lives of the people in this state, we will win this election,” Cunningham said during a press conference Friday.
But incumbent Tillis, R-N.C., is using the recently exposed affair to try and gain in the polls, while he quarantines in his home in Huntersville after contracting the coronavirus.
North Carolina has been a closely watched race as congressional Democrats consider it one of their best chances to pick up seats in the Senate.
Though Democrats could still gain the majority without North Carolina, losing the state would make other close races more vital. Republicans hold the majority 53-47, entering the general election on Nov 3.
“This undermines a voter’s confidence in Cal, particularly if you’re…undecided,” Tillis told Politico. “There’s no question that North Carolina is the bellwether state for holding the majority in the Senate.”
A recent Meredith Poll in late September showed that nearly 12 percent of North Carolina voters are still undecided, and that Cunningham leads by 1.3 percent.
However, another poll by Reuters conducted from Sept. 29 to Oct. 6, the time frame Cunningham’s sex scandal was revealed, shows he actually gained 4 points, a 5% lead amongst voters, over Tillis.
Eight percent of North Carolina voters said they already voted, a figure that likely has increased as ballots pour in during early voting.
Cunningham said the political issues up for grabs in this election are more important than his personal scandal.
“I have taken responsibility for the hurt that I have caused in my personal life. I’ve apologized for it and I know this campaign, our campaign, is about things that are much bigger or more important than just me,” Cunningham said Friday.
Reports surfaced last week that Cunningham engaged in sexually suggestive texts with Arlene Guzman Todd, wife of an Army veteran and a California Public Relations executive.
Conservative groups immediately took to Twitter to suggest Cunningham’s campaign was over.
But congressional Democrats have said not so fast, and apparently remain unconvinced that Cunningham’s Senate race is over, pointing to Trump’s successful candidacy following the release of his comments on an “Access Hollywood” tape in 2016.
“It’s a little bit hard for me to take seriously the Republican shock and horror about whatever this guy did,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., told Politico in a report Friday. “Pretty much whatever any Democratic candidate could do has been eclipsed by what Donald Trump does every day that Republicans cover for.”
North Carolina, a coveted swing state, was won by Trump in 2016. Polls reportedly show Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to have a slight lead at this point in the race, according to Real Clear Politics.