GREENSBORO, N.C. — The last 48 hours have been filled with political pandemonium as COVID-19 spreads on Capitol Hill and Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham admits to sexting a woman who isn’t his wife.
“The Senate race in North Carolina is second only to the expenditures of the presidential candidates. That’s how much outside money is being spent on this race,” said Brandon Lenoir, assistant professor of political science and strategic communication at High Point University.
An expensive race in a battleground state has been turned upside down in a matter of hours.
Senator Thom Tillis tested positive for COVID-19 and Democratic candidate Cal Cunningham admitted to sexting a public relations strategist from California.
Brandon Lenoir believes the coming weeks will be especially important.
“The bulk of the voters that are turning out to cast their ballots in 2020 have made up their mind as to who they’re going to vote for, so it’s a big question mark as to what COVID and possibly the romantic texts from Cal Cunningham will have on the outcome of the election,” Lenoir stated.
If more information on Cunningham’s sex scandal is revealed, it could sway voters.
“It comes down to those undecided voters and the swing voters in the middle. Is this going to be enough to push them one way or the other?” Lenoir said.
Senator Tillis will spend the next 10 days in quarantine.
“The fact that you have two members of the judiciary committee, Senator Lee and Senator Tillis, both contracting COVID and being out of commission for the next two weeks…going to slow the process down,” Lenoir explained.
The full senate will take a two week recess to avoid further exposure, reconvening on Oct. 19.
The Senate judiciary committee still plans to hold its confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Oct.12.
“This may shift their campaign but as far as here on the battleground, we are still boots on the ground. We’re still out knocking on doors. We’re still being healthy, cautious, but very active at the same time,” said Jill Osborn, director of the Forsyth County Republican Party.
If more positive coronavirus cases pop up, the committee vote could be pushed back.
The campaign manager for Senator Tillis revealed Saturday that Tillis is in great spirits as he continues to self-isolate with mild symptoms and no fever.