Election 2020

BREAKING: Thom Tillis Wins North Carolina, Bringing GOP Closer to Senate Majority

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Pool via AP

On Tuesday, Decision Desk called the North Carolina U.S. Senate race for Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). His opponent, Army reservist Cal Cunningham, confessed to having cheated on his wife with a woman who is married to an Army veteran who broke his spine during active service. While some outlets like the Associated Press have yet to call the race for Tillis, Cunningham conceded on Tuesday.

“I just called Senator Tillis to congratulate him on winning re-election to a second term in the U.S. Senate and wished him and his family the best in their continued service in the months and years ahead,” Cunningham wrote in a statement. “The voters have spoken and I respect their decision.”

“Earlier this afternoon, Cal Cunningham called me to offer his concession,” Tillis wrote. “This was a hard-fought campaign and I wish nothing but the best to Cal and his family going forward.”

Some observers have faulted Tillis, saying the senator had proven to be a weak candidate who was running neck-and-neck with Cunningham despite the Democrat’s sex scandal. According to Decision Desk, Tillis received fewer votes than President Donald Trump in North Carolina (2.6 million versus Trump’s 2.7 million), although Tillis enjoyed a higher margin over the Democrat than Trump did.

On October 1, NationalFile.com released text messages revealing an affair between Cunningham (47) and 36-year-old Arlene Guzman Todd, who was separated from her husband, Jeremy Todd (36). Guzman Todd’s husband reportedly broke his spine during active service in the U.S. Army. After Cunningham confirmed the text messages with Guzman Todd were authentic, the Army Reserve opened an investigation into Cunningham, since adultery is considered “unacceptable conduct” by the military and may “discredit” one from service.

“I was disappointed to learn about the inappropriate affair between my wife and Mr. Cunningham,” Jeremy Todd told The News & Observer in Raleigh. “If [Cunningham is] elected, I can only imagine how misplaced his judgment would be for the people he’s charged to represent.”

Tillis’s victory in the North Carolina race yields 49 seats for the Republicans. Democrats have 48 seats. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) leads in Alaska. Control of the chamber is likely to come down to the two January 5 runoff races in Georgia: Raphael Warnock versus Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and Jon Ossoff versus Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.).

While Trump won North Carolina, according to Decision Desk, Decision Desk has called the presidential race with Democratic nominee Joe Biden at 279 electoral votes. None of the states have finalized their results, however, and Trump’s campaign is challenging the preliminary results in many states. Horrifying reports of potential fraud have cast a pall over the election, especially in states like Pennsylvania.

Although it seems unlikely that Trump’s challenges will reverse Biden’s preliminary leads, it is important for the integrity of the election for the president’s team to have their say in court and see their concerns treated with the seriousness they deserve.

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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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