We had what was shaping up to be a pretty nice Senate race in North Carolina until one candidate got sick with the virus and another got sick in the head.
Sen. Thom Tillis is the Republican incumbent who has tied his fate to President Trump ever since he backtracked on the Washington Post editorial he wrote in February 2019, claiming he wouldn’t vote with the president to declare a national emergency for the “migrant caravan” that never seemed to get to our borders. Then, two weeks later, he did.
We’re not sure what his plan is now, after the president gave him COVID-19.
Cal Cunningham, the Democrat challenger, was supposed to be everything Tillis wasn’t. He’s a military veteran who hasn’t spent a lot of time in elected office, a family man and lawyer who seemed committed to reason. And then a series of texts surfaced – vanilla in tone but very definitely romantic in nature, sent to a woman who is not his wife.
Now we’re forced to choose between a political hack who failed his way upwards all the way to the US Senate, and a guy who is cheating on his wife.
And it’s no small exaggeration to say control of the Senate hangs in the balance: Of the seats most likely to flip in November, the Post ranked this one fourth.
It’s already an incredibly expensive race — Cunningham has raised a little more than $15 million, Tillis a little less. And they will be spending a few more million each on advertising designed to wash the taste of political filth from the mouths of the electorate.
All Cunningham had to do was keep cool while Tillis scrambled to justify his bout with the coronavirus. And he couldn’t even do that.
On every issue Cunningham is the superior candidate and Democratic control of the Senate is vastly more preferable to the Mitch McConnell regime, but also it cannot be stressed enough how badly Cal is screwing this up. Every day that he fails to look the voters in the eye and explain his breach of trust, the odds of him beating Tillis become ever more remote.
In any other year, Cunningham’s texts would have been a devastating October surprise. But that was before Trump.
Compared to the president’s dalliances, which include sex with porn stars, prostitutes and the nude model he eventually married, as well as multiple allegations of rape and his admitted penchant for grabbing women by their genitals, Cunningham is practically a Boy Scout.
You’d think the choice would be harder. But it’s not.