More like historically stupid, and on a monumental scale. Democrat Cal Cunningham has run a tough campaign against incumbent Republican Senator Thom Tillis and has featured his military experience as a major platform of his campaign. At the same time, as National File reported late yesterday and Cunningham admitted not long after, the married candidate conducted a covert sexting relationship with the wife of an Army combat veteran:
Cal Cunningham, who is a married father of two, has focused his U.S. Senate campaign against Republican Thom Tillis on Cunningham’s service as a veteran in Iraq and Afghanistan. But Cunningham is evidently engaged in extramarital activity with the wife of a fellow veteran.
Cunningham refers to Guzman Todd in the text messages below as “historically sexy,” imagines kissing her, says he has been dreaming “of our time together,” and the two plan for Cunningham to make up an excuse for his family and ditch a staffer so the two can meet and, in Guzman Todd’s words, “kiss a lot.” Guzman Todd says she wants “a night with you” and Cunningham agrees that he wants that too. Guzman Todd says that “the only thing I want on my to do list is you” and Cunningham says that “Sounds so hot and so fun!”
Cunningham’s paramour Arlene Guzman Todd has been recently listed as media director of a marijuana public relations company and has been a California State University lecturer. Arlene Guzman Todd’s husband Jeremy Todd has been an active duty servicemember. Jeremy Todd was an Army Sergeant First Class who served 15 years in the U.S. Army with five combat deployments including in Iraq and Afghanistan, then studied at the University of Southern California in a determined bid to support his young family.
Cunningham’s Democratic Party handlers in North Carolina must be tearing their hair out right now, and for good reason. How does someone run for high public office, with all of the scrutiny that entails, while engaging in an extramarital sexting relationship? How does that same person base that campaign on his concern for the military while wooing a combat veteran’s wife? In the middle of the campaign? One text message reads — in between the “historically sexy” and “I want to roll over and kiss you” comments — that Cunningham was “nervous about the next 100 days.” That would put the exchange somewhere around the end of July.
Thirty years ago, this kind of thing might have remained a secret. In this era, though, electronic records last forever. Forget the character issue. This suggests a mental capacity issue.
Thus far, though, Cunningham insists he’s staying in the race:
Cunningham, who has been leading in polling in his pivotal U.S. Senate race against Republican incumbent Thom Tillis, said Friday night that he is not dropping out of the race.
“I have hurt my family, disappointed my friends, and am deeply sorry. The first step in repairing those relationships is taking complete responsibility, which I do. I ask that my family’s privacy be respected in this personal matter,” Cunningham said in a statement sent to The News & Observer.
“I remain grateful and humbled by the ongoing support that North Carolinians have extended in this campaign, and in the remaining weeks before this election I will continue to work to earn the opportunity to fight for the people of our state.”
Maybe he should have thought about his family’s privacy before conducting this affair and also running for public office. That’s about as selfish, thoughtless, and self-destructive as a politician can get. Imagine what Cunningham would be like if he won.
This reminds us again about the problem with early voting, too. How many people who had already cast their ballots for Cunningham will regret that decision this morning? Voters should wait for all of the data to come in before filling out their ballots, preferably in person on Election Day using paper ballots. If nothing else, Cunningham at least serves as a role model in that sense.