Dodging public forums, stonewalling the press, and violating the baseline level of transparency voters expect from their elected leaders? Cal Cunningham appears to be taking a page out of the Roy Cooper playbook in his response to the sexting scandal engulfing the North Carolina U.S. senate race.
Perhaps then it’s no surprise that Governor Cooper has remained silent on the ballooning scandal, which the Washington Post described as one of the “worst possible” scenarios for Democrats’ hopes in the Tar Heel State.
After confirming on Friday that the explicit messages were authentic via his campaign staff, Cunningham has been in hiding, refusing to take questions from North Carolina voters and pulling out of a town hall meeting on Monday minutes before it was scheduled to start as new allegations surfaced from another woman.
Unsurprisingly, Cooper has stuck to his signature duck-and-cover strategy, declining to weigh in on the scandal despite his position at the top of the Democratic Party ticket and his close ties to Cunningham. The two share the same political advisor, and Cooper appointed Cunningham to a leadership role on a key commission.
Cunningham has used the appointment by Cooper as a calling card throughout the campaign. The “Meet Cal” section on his campaign website reads:
That work includes being named Vice Chairman of the Governor Roy Cooper’s Crime Commission where he led efforts to address school gun violence, curb the opioid addiction crisis, and fund services for women and families affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.
“Governor Cooper’s consistent refusal to address the issues that matter to North Carolinians apparently extends to massive scandals dominating the Democratic ticket,” said RGA Communications Director Amelia Chassé Alcivar. “As the leader of his Party, Cooper should be calling on Cal Cunningham to come clean and tell voters the whole story before any more votes are cast. Enough is enough with the stonewalling and silence from North Carolina Democrats.”