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Here’s What You Need To Know About Tillis’ Allies’ Latest Desperate Attack On Cal Cunningham

Tillis, Washington GOP Lobbing Misleading Attacks While They Should Be Extending Unemployment Benefits

RALEIGH, NC — This morning, Thom Tillis’ Washington allies are out with a desperate new ad attacking Cal Cunningham based on the GOP’s latest manufactured controversy to distract from Tillis’ “perilous” re-election bid. 

“It’s been clear for months that Senator Tillis and his Washington allies can’t run on Tillis’ own record, and this ad makes it exceedingly clear that they are scraping the bottom of the barrel,” said Rachel Petri, Cal for North Carolina communications director. “Senator Tillis and his allies should be focused on extending relief for out-of-work North Carolinians instead of pushing this desperate and misleading attack.” 

Here is the truth about their attacks, which independent fact checkers and even conservative media outlets confirm are misleading: 

FACT: Cal supports the Paycheck Protection Program and wants to ensure it truly serves North Carolinians, which is why he has said the program needs transparency and oversight. Senator Tillis shared those same concerns. 

  • Politifact: “Cunningham criticized the PPP to the extent that it wasn’t reaching enough companies and lacked adequate oversight — and he’s not alone. Republican senators, including Tillis, have expressed similar concerns.”
  • Politifact: “Tillis has also expressed concerns about getting money to small businesses.” 
  • Charlotte Observer: “Even Tillis…has expressed concerns about whether the money is going to companies that need it.” 

FACT: Cal has been consistent in his support for the Paycheck Protection Program, and that he did not benefit from the company’s loan. From the first story in the Charlotte Observer, to the last in PolitiFact, the facts have not changed:

Cal supports the PPP program:

  • Charlotte Observer, 7/7: “At a June forum sponsored by WRAL, Cunningham described himself as a “strong supporter” of the PPP program.”
  • Politifact, 7/17: “Also on June 17, Cunningham spoke during an online forum hosted by WRAL. He described himself as a ‘strong proponent of the interventions that are necessary to help keep our companies moving, keeping people on the payroll (through) measures like the Paycheck Protection Program.’”

Cal was not involved with the company’s application:

  • Charlotte Observer, 7/7: “Cunningham’s campaign said he left the company March 20, shortly after winning his Senate primary. President Trump signed the $2 trillion CARES Act, which included the PPP, into law on March 27.”
  • Politifact, 7/17: “the [WasteZero] CEO says Cunningham wasn’t involved in the PPP application, or the decision to pursue PPP funds.” 

Cal ended his full-time role in March:

  • Charlotte Observer, 7/7: “Cunningham’s campaign said he left the company March 20, shortly after winning his Senate primary… His campaign said he had left the company and was being paid on an hourly basis at that point and is still available to do occasional hourly work.”
  • Politifact, 7/17: “A WasteZero payroll document shows Cunningham’s job as general counsel was “terminated” on March 20. The campaign provided the payroll document to PolitiFact, and WasteZero CEO David Bryla verified its authenticity.”

This misleading attack comes because Tillis and his allies are desperate after poll after poll after poll after poll after poll after poll show Cal leading Thom Tillis. In fact, just this morning, new numbers from Morning Consult confirmed that Tillis is still struggling with his base and independent voters. 

  • Morning Consult: “Sen. Thom Tillis (R) trails Cal Cunningham by 9 points in North Carolina, and is running far behind President Trump among likely GOP voters.”
  • NBC / Marist: “Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham leads GOP Sen. Thom Tillis by 9 points, with the backing of 50 percent of voters, compared to Tillis’ 41 percent.”
  • PPP: “PPP’s newest North Carolina poll finds that Cal Cunningham has a net favorability rating 31 points better than Thom Tillis’, and leads the Senate race by 8 points at 47-39.”
  • CNBC / Change Research: “In North Carolina, Democratic former state Sen. Cal Cunningham holds a 51% to 41% advantage over Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, according to the CNBC/Change Research poll.”