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Cal’s Senate Campaign Starts Strong: Positive Press & Key Endorsements on Day One 

Cunningham “has the advantage of experience” and “already has secured a slew of endorsements from state leaders


Raleigh, NC — In case you missed it, former State Senator and Army veteran Cal Cunningham launched his campaign yesterday for U.S. Senate. Cal is building support and has already earned key endorsements from leading North Carolina Democrats: former U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and Chip Hagan, Wake County Commission Chair Jessica Holmes, former legislators and community leaders Howard Lee and Larry Womble, and Lillian’s List co-founder Laura Edwards.


Here’s a recap of Cal’s Senate campaign kickoff:

  • Associated Press: Cunningham: Voters led him to switch to US Senate campaign
  • @GaryDRobertson (AP): “Citing ‘fundamental political corruption problem’ in DC, Democrat Cal Cunningham tells AP he’s getting in race to try to unseat North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis”
  • Spectrum News: “A huge development in the 2020 U.S. Senate race on the Democratic side… he did not shy away from calling Senator Thom Tillis out directly… he touted in this ad among other things his service in the Army Reserve after 9/11, basically touting that, which could be of course something that’s appealing to voters in North Carolina, a very heavily military state. He’s also touting today some endorsements, including from the former occupant of Tillis’ seat, Senator Kay Hagan, among a list of other endorsements. So really a very elaborate roll-out to this campaign.”
  • Charlotte Observer: “As a decorated Army Reserve lawyer in Iraq in 2008, he led a landmark prosecution and helped prepare briefings for VIPs, including then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. Cunningham was endorsed Monday by former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, former state Sen. Howard Lee of Chapel Hill and Laura Edwards, co-founder of Lillian’s List of North Carolina.”
  • Associated Press: “‘There’s really a fundamental political corruption problem that put Washington completely out of touch with the people,” Cunningham said, citing corporate influence and big-money donors. ‘That fundamental problem is a Washington that is broken.’ Cunningham said Tillis is part of that failure but that he would work in tandem with North Carolina to find solutions if elected… ‘I grew up to believe in public service,’ he told the AP. ‘It is in the core of who I am.’”
  • Politics NC: “Cunningham has the advantage of experience in Senate contests, reducing his learning curve substantially. A senate race is unlike any other on the ballot. It requires running several campaigns at once and is both nationalized and localized, particularly in the primary.”
  • High Point Enterprise: “So far, Cunningham becomes the highest-profile Democrat to enter the Senate race… He has an extensive record of military service as a U.S. Army veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns.”
  • @KendallKarson (ABC News): “NEW: Democrat @CalforNC, who announced his bid to unseat @ThomTillis this morning, already has secured a slew of endorsements from state leaders including former Sen. @kayhagan”
  • Washington Post: “‘North Carolinians are hard-working common-sense, decent and stubbornly independent people,’ Cunningham said in his new announcement video. ‘And you deserve to be represented by somebody who gets it.’”
  • NBC News: “Cunningham, an Iraq and Afghanistan War veteran, took direct aim at Tillis in his announcement video, saying the first-term incumbent is ‘part of the problem’ and is standing in the way of progress for North Carolinians. He also said he’ll ‘go places that Democrats don’t always go’ during his campaign.”
  • Spectrum News: “Former state senator Cal Cunningham has entered North Carolina’s 2020 U.S. Senate race, rolling out his campaign announcement Monday in an online video… In that video, he also touted his experience serving with the Army Reserve, noting his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan — a potential selling point in a military state like North Carolina.”
  • Capital Tonight:
  • WFAE Charlotte: “‘The road kept leading back to how we deal with the biggest obstacles to solving problems here at home,’ [Cunningham] said. ‘Which is why we kept having conversations about the political corruption, and the fact that Washington is vastly out of touch.’”
  • WGHP Greensboro: “The newest candidate running for U.S. Senate from North Carolina is a native of the Piedmont Triad… He grew up in Lexington. Cunningham has already received endorsements from prominent Democrats including former U.S. Senator Kay Hagan.”
  • Roll Call: “Sen. Thom Tillis will face a Democratic opponent with some name recognition next year in the battleground state of North Carolina. Former state senator and Army Reserve counsel Calvin Cunningham III will challenge the first-term Republican, The Associated Press reported Monday.”
  • @DAGerber (National Journal): “Cal Cunningham secures Kay Hagan’s support, among other Dem leaders, today in #NCSen”
  • The Hill: “In his announcement video, Cunningham said he would fight for an economy that worked ‘for everybody, for the health care that each family deserves, and to reform the corrupt political system in Washington.’ He cast his decision to change races as one motivated by a desire to effect positive change in people’s lives”
  • Daily Kos: “On Monday, former state Sen. Cal Cunningham announced that he would seek the Democratic nod to challenge GOP incumbent Thom Tillis in North Carolina’s Senate race, a contest that could prove vital to Team Blue’s hopes of flipping the chamber.”