The pollster for Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said that Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham would have won North Carolina’s 2020 race if he had not been caught cheating on his wife, The Washington Examiner reported.
“Lots of politicians have had affairs,” said Glen Bolger, a top Republican pollster who advised Tillis’ campaign. Bolger said Cunningham’s affair came with two additional problems.
“One is, it connected him to John Edwards — young, smart, lawyer, handsome. Not the family man you think he is,” he said. “And then secondly, his whole story, essentially, was a lie.”
When asked if Cunningham’s adultery lost him the race, Bolger responded: “Oh, I think so. I’m not taking anything away from Sen. Tillis or the campaign we run. I do believe if that hadn’t happened, Cunningham would have won.”
Cunningham came into the North Carolina Senate election with credentials as a former state senator and Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve, where he worked as an attorney in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
He out-raised and outspent Tillis, the incumbent, and he led in the polls until a month before the race, when news outlets obtained text messages between Cunningham and Arlene Guzman Todd, the wife of an Army sergeant.
Cunningham admitted the authenticity of the text messages and apologized to his family and friends.
Later another woman claimed that Cunningham had been having an affair with her friend since 2012.
Cunningham’s affairs and indiscretions did not immediately sink his campaign, but they led to a slow decline.
“Even though we hadn’t take the lead, we cut into it,” he said. “And what we found very clear evidence of was that the more people knew about it, the more likely they were to turn against Cunningham.”
Tillis narrowly won the race, 48.7 percent to 46.9 percent.