Sexting aside, it looks like North Carolinas Senate race is still going to come down to the wire.
Sexting aside, it looks like North Carolina's Senate race is still going to come down to the wire. CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGES

This month, the race for one of North Carolina's Senate seats has been a real doozy for candidates on both sides of the aisle. On October 2, Republican incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19. The same day, word got out that his Democratic challenger, military vet Cal Cunningham, had been sending sexy text messages to a woman who was not his wife.

Both revelations upended what was already a hotly contested race. North Carolina voters now face two rather unappetizing options—a Trump henchman who got the 'rona or a horny moderate Dem whose sexting skills leave a lot to the imagination.

But two weeks later, as the smoke clears on the sexting scandal (he apologized) and the plague diagnosis (he's officially out of quarantine), the race for the Tar Heel State is mostly where it was at the beginning of the month—with Cunningham slightly favored to win the Senate seat.

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FiveThirtyEight still has Cunningham's chances of giving Tillis the boot at 67 in 100. A New York Times/Siena poll has the Democrat with a five-point advantage over the Republican, but with 16 percent of voters still undecided in the race. It's a similar result in a Reuters/Ipsos poll where Cunningham leads 46 percent to Tillis's 42 percent.

So even though Tillis's campaign has tried to cash in on the scandal by releasing an attack ad that calls Cunningham's campaign "one big lie," it looks like Cunningham's "PG-rated" texts have not advantaged Tillis.
This comes as both candidates are in the final two-week stretch of campaigning in North Carolina's most expensive Senate race ever. Cunningham and Tillis have spent a combined $242 million on ads, with Cunningham raising a monster $28.3 million in the last quarter alone.

I don't believe that a politician's milquetoast sex life is worthy of media analysis, and it looks like, ultimately, voters in North Carolina agree. It'll still be a down-to-the-wire race that could help flip the fucking Senate. We'll keep an eye on it.

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