Lesson learned. The next time Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) tries to lock a male Democrat in a basement, he'll make sure to take away his cell phone.
Cal Cunningham was Schumer's handpicked candidate to run for Senate in North Carolina. Reports indicated Schumer's ideal candidate to challenge incumbent senator Thom Tillis (R., N.C.) would be as boring as possible and spend the entire campaign "in a windowless basement raising money" for "negative ads about Tillis."
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Apparently, Schumer forgot to throw in a prohibition on sexting side chicks because Cunningham—a married father of two—was recently caught exchanging flirty messages with a married woman in California. In fairness to Cunningham, the sexts themselves are rather boring, especially compared with the antics of the Democratic Party's more prominent philanderers.
"You are historically sexy," Cunningham texted his secret mistress, reported to be Arlene Guzman Todd, who is married to an Army sergeant who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. "I want to kiss you," she responded. Cunningham replied that he would "kiss back … a lot." They discussed ditching his family and campaign staff to meet up for a night and "kiss a lot," which Cunningham said sounded "wonderful" and was something he wanted "very badly."
The Washington Free Beacon alum who unearthed the sexting scandal late last week reported Monday that Cunningham may have had an extramarital relationship with a second woman. Cunningham, who admitted sending the sexts and apologized for having "hurt my family," has refused to drop out of the race, but doesn't appear eager to show his face in public. A town hall event scheduled for Monday afternoon was canceled after Cunningham backed out.
The North Carolina Senate race, already one of the most hotly contested of the cycle, has experienced a sudden infusion of drama over the past few days. In addition to the Cunningham sext scandal, Tillis announced last week that he tested positive for COVID-19. The outcome of the race could ultimately determine which party controls the Senate in 2021.
Schumer and the Democratic establishment didn't have to pick Cunningham. There was already a qualified candidate in the race even before Cunningham announced his campaign. Erica Smith, a state senator and former Boeing engineer, tried to become the first black woman to win a statewide election in North Carolina but lost the primary after the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed Cunningham.
Smith alleged that Democratic officials explicitly promised her that they wouldn't endorse in the primary and suggested that race was a factor in the decision to back Cunningham. "Sen. Schumer, for whatever reason, did not want an African American running for Senate in North Carolina," Smith said during a campaign event in January.
Schumer got exactly what he wanted. In light of recent events, however, he might be starting to regret his decision to value racial purity above all else. Lesson learned.