N. Carolina Senate race upended by sexting, virus diagnosis

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By GARY D. ROBERTSON Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s intensively competitive and expensive U.S. Senate race has been upended by personal and health disruptions that sent sharp tremors and uncertainty through the campaigns and an electorate already casting ballots.

Democratic nominee Cal Cunningham acknowledged and apologized for exchanging sexually suggestive text messages with a woman who’s not his wife, but he said he won’t drop out of the race. And just a few hours earlier Friday evening, his opponent, Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, announced he has tested positive for COVID-19. While the first-term senator said he has no symptoms, the news forced Tillis to cancel in-person events, and several members of his campaign staff headed into quarantine.

“It’s chaos — it’s really what I see it is,” David McLennan, a political science professor at Meredith College in Raleigh, said in a Saturday interview.

In the text message exchanges, Cunningham tells the woman he wants to kiss her and she says she wants to spend the night with him. The messages were first reported by the website NationalFile.com.

“I have hurt my family, disappointed my friends, and am…


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