In interview with WUNC's Jeff Tiberii posted on Tuesday night, Cal Cunningham made clear that he would rather have not received the millions in dark money support that has been deployed on his behalf so far this campaign to rescue him from his primary opponent, Erica Smith.
- JEFF TIBERII: You have been the beneficiary of dark money, right, of outside spending, as a lot of candidates have been. You truly would like to just do away with it and not see any of it? You would rather sit here today and not have had any of that support? You think the whole system would be better without that spending?
- CAL CUNNINGHAM: I really do.
- (Jeff Tiberii, "No Windowless Basement Here," WUNC, 2/4/20)(9:40)
However, one day later, after it was announced
that Erica Smith would be receiving some outside air cover of her own (ad here
), Cunningham's campaign was begging more dark money groups to come to their rescue. The Cunningham campaign posted on YouTube a three minute b-roll montage
of Cunningham interacting with African American voters, presumably to be used in ads by independent expenditures.
"Cal Cunningham has spent the last seven months hiding in a windowless basement and refusing to debate Erica Smith on the issues, despite the fact that televised primary debates were a centerpiece to his failed 2010 Senate bid,"
said NCGOP spokesman Jeff Hauser. "Panicked that he will now actually have to tell North Carolinians where he stands on policies like the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and taxpayer-funded health care for illegal immigrants, Cal Cunningham is tripping over himself trying to hypocritically beg dark money groups to come bail him out. As Cunningham looks weaker by the day, it's unsurprising that Smith continues to pummel him in North Carolina-based endorsements."
This isn't the first time Cunningham has raised eyebrows for coordinating with dark money groups. Earlier this month it was reported
that an ethics complaint was filed by a third party watchdog against VoteVets for illegally coordinating with the Cunningham campaign on television ads.
- Contact: Jeff Hauser