Cal Cunningham

Voting signs were posted outside of White Rock Baptist Church in Durham on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020.
Peyton Sickles / for WUNC

The North Carolina State Board of Elections certified the results of the November general election on Tuesday, awarding the state's 15 electoral votes to President Donald Trump.

County elections boards have finalized their official vote tallies. Still, on Friday the race to be chief justice of the state Supreme Court looked almost certainly headed for a recount.  

Meanwhile, the Democratic challenger in the U.S. Senate race conceded this week. And a former Wake County Public Schools superintendent moved into a top (interim) role at the Pentagon. 

Host Jeff Tiberii, Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation review those stories along with the latest grim pandemic news.


Chris Carlson / AP Photo

Updated at 6 p.m.

Democrat Cal Cunningham conceded to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina on Tuesday, saying “the voters have spoken” and it was clear Tillis had won.

With Cunningham’s concession, all eyes turned to Georgia, where two U.S. Senate runoff races in January are likely to determine the balance of the upper chamber.

Left to right, top then bottom: Bridget Pittman, Rachel Johnson, Danyelle Dunkett, Kelice Agosto, Asya Coles and Gloria Winston-Harris were at a North Carolina Central University polling place on Nov. 3, 2020.
Peyton Sickles / for WUNC

This post will be updated frequently on Nov. 3, 2020 with the latest information and breaking news on Election Day in North Carolina. The latest updates will be entered at the top with timestamps. Scroll down for older updates.

Women listen during a drive-in rally for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden at Cellairis Amphitheatre in Atlanta, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020.
Andrew Harnik / AP

Campaign contributions are considered a form of speech, and in the 2020 election, women are shouting.

More than ever, women are reaching deeper into their pockets to help sway elections. In North Carolina, those donations favor Democrats.

Thom Tillis Cal Cunningham U.S. Senate
Campaign Photos

While North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis tries to make big splashes in the final days of his reelection bid, Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham remains discreet with in-person campaigning.

A group of women in red shirts holding blue letters, all together the letters spell out 'moms'
North Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Money is flowing freely into politics, despite the global recession. Top donors, like Michael Bloomberg and Charles Koch, are targeting competitive elections. North Carolina is ripe with opportunity for either party. From the record-breaking U.S. Senate race down to the suburban state House districts, the deluge of ads is doing more than just affecting voters. 

Gerry Broome, Pool / AP Photo

North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis has entered the home stretch of his competitive and costly re-election bid with nearly $2.4 million more cash on hand than Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission on Thursday.

Gerry Broome, Pool, file / AP Photo

A race in North Carolina critical to control of the U.S. Senate has been thrown into turmoil over allegations of personal misconduct by Democrat Cal Cunningham, a married man who had an extramarital relationship with a consultant.

Scandal and litigation have cast a cloud of uncertainty over North Carolina elections. On Friday, incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis announced he had tested positive for coronavirus. He's in self-isolation experiencing mild symptoms.

Notably, Tillis serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee and he’s the second member of that panel to test positive – along with Republican Michael Lee of Utah.

If Tillis and Lee are out for some time, the Republican majority's efforts to quickly push through Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett could be delayed.

NC Senate Race Upended By Texting, Virus Diagnosis

Oct 3, 2020

North Carolina's intensively competitive and expensive U.S. Senate race has been upended by personal and health disruptions that sent sharp tremors and uncertainty through the campaigns and an electorate already casting ballots.

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome, Pool)

The Democratic challenger in North Carolina's closely contested U.S. Senate contest has admitted to exchanging sexually suggestive text messages with a woman who's not his wife, but he said he will not drop out of the race.

Two White Men, President General Ford and Jimmy Carter, standing at wooden looking podiums on a stage
Flickr / Creative Commons

North Carolina voters had the opportunity to watch two high-profile debates this week: the first presidential debate in Cleveland and the final U.S. Senate debate in Raleigh. President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off Tuesday night in a contentious debate that left many voters feeling disappointed and disillusioned. Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and his Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham took the stage Thursday for the last of three scheduled debates.

Gerry Broome / AP Photo

In contrast to the chaotic presidential debate earlier in the week, the third and final face-off between the top contenders in North Carolina's senate race last night was relatively mellow.


Gerry Broome / AP

Republican U.S. Senator Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham squared off Tuesday night in the second of their three debates, and questions about the potential successor to late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hung heavy over the debate.

WUNC has all the coverage you need this election season. Check out our 2020 Voter Guide for information on absentee ballots and more. And be sure to check out our Races To Watch stories for everything you need to know about candidates in statewide and legislative elections. Subscribe to WUNC's Politics Podcast, and follow reporters Rusty Jacobs and Jeff Tiberii on Twitter.

This year, North Carolina voters will make crucial decisions at the polls that could impact state politics and laws for at least the next decade.

In addition to casting their ballot in the race for the White House, North Carolinians will also vote in statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. Senate, the state attorney general, the state supreme court, and U.S. House races.

This week:  Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and his Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham had their first debate. The Democrat's answer to a hypothetical question about the COVID-19 vaccine caught some attention. 

On the reopening front, Gov. Roy Cooper announced elementary schools could welcome back all their students soon — as long as they wear masks and practice social distancing. Meanwhile Cooper's opponent, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, said face covering requirements would be dropped come January if he were to win the governor's race.

Offering insight and making their debut as our commentators are Aisha Dew of Higher Heights and Clark Riemer, former chair of the North Carolina Young Republicans and a staffer in the state House.
 


Incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham faced off last night in the first of three televised debates. This race is one of the most closely watched in the country as it is considered a true toss up. 

Merigrace Ramsey / WRAL

Republican Senator Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham sparred over the pandemic, systemic racism and each other’s records Monday night during a socially distanced debate.

Thom Tillis Cal Cunningham U.S. Senate
Campaign Photos

Follow live updates of the first televised debate between North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham.

Watch live here starting at 7 p.m.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham hasn’t campaigned in person since the first stay-at-home order was issued in March.

Thom Tillis Cal Cunningham U.S. Senate
Campaign Photos

North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham are meeting for their first televised debate in a campaign whose outcome could determine which party controls the Senate.

Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via AP, Pool

Perhaps you are grateful for the lack of election news. While coverage of presidential primary contenders started back in 2018, former Vice President Joe Biden has all but disappeared from the news. 

Erica Smith, a three-term member of the North Carolina General Assembly, is running in the North Carolina Democratic U.S. Senate Primary.
Erica Smith for US Senate

A political committee linked to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is funding ads and other campaign materials designed to meddle in North Carolina's Democratic Senate primary, the group acknowledged on Friday.

Madeline Gray / For WUNC

If U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham is heading to the top of the primary mountain in a climate-controlled gondola, then Erica Smith, his main competitor for the Democratic nomination, is trudging to the summit, through a thicket, with one of those large walking sticks.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

U.S Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer purportedly imagined a Democrat would have to lock himself in a "windowless basement" and fundraise nonstop to beat incumbent GOP Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina. But, Cal Cunningham's campaign office has plenty of natural light. 

Cunningham got the stamp of approval from the DSCC's national recruiters. His primary campaign has benefitted from lots of outside money, including millions from VoteVets. Though the candidate wants to see an end to dark money. 

On this edition of the WUNCPolitics Podcast, Cunningham discusses the money in politics, who's supporting him, and why he should be North Carolina's next senator.