RALEIGH — On Friday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and former United Nations Ambassador and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley swept through Raleigh as part of a seven-day long statewide tour.
President Trump is also making multiple stops across the Tar Heel state prior to election day, visiting Hickory on Sunday, Nov. 1 and Fayetteville on Monday, Nov. 2.
NCGOP Chairman Michael Whatley welcomed a crowd of around a hundred supporters who had assembled at the Angus Barn’s Pavilions to hear speeches by Haley and Tillis. Whatley told the crowd that all eyes were on North Carolina and touted that Tillis had “done everything he said he was going to do” and that Tillis has stood by the military and veterans. Whatley also said that “Roy Cooper is the most vulnerable incumbent governor anywhere in the country” and that “we need Dan Forest in the governor’s mansion.”
“As a member of the Judiciary Committee, he has helped usher through over 200 lifetime conservative, lifetime federal judicial appointments made by Donald Trump, including Neal Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett” Whatley told the crowd which responded with loud cheers and applause.
“We had somebody who decided to run for the U.S. Senate who, for months, on T.V. with his own money said that this campaign is about truth and about honor,” Tillis said, calling out Cunningham’s extramarital affairs early on in his speech.
Near the beginning of this month, Cunningham admitted to sending sexual text messages to a fellow veteran’s wife, Arlene Guzman Todd. The text messages were first reported by the National File and later confirmed by the Associated Press. Todd also told the Associated press she and Cunningham had sexual contact in July when she came to Raleigh.
Since news of the affair broke, Cunningham has all but disappeared from public view and denied half a dozen interview requests in a single day earlier this month.
“You can’t have it both ways,” said Tillis of Cunningham dodging the press. “You can’t run a campaign on truth and honor and say that’s fundamental to your candidacy and then be untruthful and dishonorable.”
Tillis went on to say that “If Cal Cunningham will lie to his supporters and betray his family, what do you think he’s going to do for the people of North Carolina?”
Cunningham’s affair is a national story on the minds of other candidates. On Oct. 18 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Cooper was caught on a hot mic telling Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden that Cunningham was “frustrating” but that they will “get him across” the finish line.
“Ladies and gentlemen, if you get me elected, I will guarantee you that I will never break a promise, that I will never betray your trust,” Tillis told supporters.
Todd’s husband has called for Cunningham to drop out of the race. Cunningham is a Lt. Colonel in the Army, and the allegations of adulty have prompted investigations by both the National Guard and the Department of Defense. The investigations raise the possibility of a court martial or reprimand for Cunningham.
Cunningham, who is also married and has two children, has been spotted coming and going from his sister’s house in recent weeks instead of his own home. Cunningham has refused to answer questions about whether there are more affairs beyond that with Todd.
Haley took the podium to applause and calls of “Haley 2024!”
“I am born the daughter of Indian immigrants who reminded my brother, my sister and me every day how blessed we were live in this country,” said Haley. “And we have to work hard to protect her, but I tell you, when I see what they are doing to Thom Tillis… when I see what they’re doing to Lindsey Graham…when I see what they are doing to Martha McSally in Arizona… it gets you riled up.”
Haley called out the money coming in from out of state to attack Tillis and said that “This is Chuck Schumer saying, ‘we need to get rid of Thom Tillis’.”
The race between Tillis and Cunningham is the most expensive in history to date, with $125 million pouring into it largely by Democrat Super PACS.
Haley said that in Washington, D.C., Tillis is known to be “a worker, a fighter and to have moral clarity.”
“This election is going to be the difference between law and order and riots and lawlessness and defunding the police,” said Haley. “Thank you, Thom Tillis, for having the backs of law enforcement each and every day here and in Washington.”
Haley also mentioned education, saying that this election was “a choice between education being in the hands of parents versus education being in the hands of bureaucrats.” She also spoke about foreign relations, holding China accountable, the president’s tax cuts and, in her closing, said that “even on our worst day, we are blessed to live in America.”
The North Carolina Senate race is also very close. A poll conducted by North State Journal and Cardinal Point Analytics released on Friday showed incumbent Republican Thom Tillis ahead of Democrat Cal Cunningham by five percentage points, with 46% to Cunningham’s 41%. Libertarian candidate Shannon Bray recorded 6% support in the race with 5% of voters undecided.
In other polls, Cunningham has held a slight lead often within the margin of error. An East Carolina University (ECU) Poll had the two men tied in September but last week’s final poll by ECU had Cunningham with a razor-thin one-point lead over Tillis.
“We feel great about where all these races are,” Whatley told North State Journal. “We’re performing very, very well in the early vote absentee numbers. We’re expecting to have a monster election day. The enthusiasm is as high as I have ever seen it. Even in 2016, I don’t think we had enthusiasm at this level.”