North Carolina Democratic candidate Cal Cunningham dodged questions about his recent extramarital affair in his first in-person interview since a conservative website published steamy text messages between the Senate hopeful and a married woman last week.
Cunningham repeatedly told CBS 17 the campaign was not about his “personal life” when asked about his relationship with Arlene Guzman Todd. This week, Guzman Todd told The Associated Press their affair included physical encounters as recently as July.
“I made it clear that I’ve hurt my family and that I disappointed my supporters, and I’m taking responsibility for that,” Cunningham told CBS 17 on Wednesday. “I’m very clear that this campaign isn’t about my personal life. It’s about the people of North Carolina. It’s about the issues that are important to North Carolinians, and that’s what I’m staying focused on.”
Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, left, and U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. talk during a televised debate Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020 in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, Pool)
Earlier on Wednesday, Cunningham’s campaign said he would cooperate in an U.S. Army Reserve investigation that appears to stem from the affair. He apologized after flirty text messages with Guzman Todd surfaced but has not commented on other alleged aspects of the affair.
“We’ll be happy to address the questions that the Army Reserve may have,” Cunningham told CBS 17.
“This campaign is not about my personal life,” he continued. “The campaign is about the people of North Carolina. That’s what I’m staying focused on. I’m going to make the strongest argument possible for why they’ll see my name on the ballot. It’s their health care, and it’s about their jobs, their higher wages.”
CBS 17 reporter Michael Hyland said his crew “happened to see” Cunningham at a shopping center in Raleigh, N.C., leading to the interview.
“The Army Reserve is investigating the matters involving Lt. Col. James Cunningham. As such, we are unable to provide further details at this time,” Simon B. Flake, a spokesman for the Army Reserve Strategic Communications, told North Carolina outlet WRAL on Wednesday.
Cunningham’s full name is James Calvin Cunningham III. The Senate candidate is married with two children.
The Army Reserve did not specify why Cunningham is under investigation, according to WRAL.
Guzman Todd is married to U.S. Army veteran Jeremy Todd, Task & Purpose reported.