by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
North Carolina Democratic Senate contender Cal Cunningham dodged questions about whether he supports impeachment, despite endorsing an inquiry even before the August whistleblower complaint over President Donald Trump’s handling of Ukrainian aid.
Cunningham refused to take a position when asked if he had “heard enough” to support impeachment during a Wednesday interview. The former state senator instead referred to President Donald Trump’s “deeply, deeply troubling” actions that “we ought to be very deeply troubled about.”
“The facts are pretty deeply troublesome,” he said when pressed about whether he would commit to impeaching the president.
Cunningham, who launched a failed U.S. Senate bid in 2010, is challenging freshman Republican senator Thom Tillis in 2020 with support from the national party. His noncommittal approach to ousting President Trump, who won the state by about 4 points in 2016, comes as public opinion has moved against Democrats on the issue. An Emerson College poll revealed that only 43 percent of Americans support impeachment, down from 48 percent in October.
Cunningham’s response reflects Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D., N.Y.) broader approach for winning back the upper chamber—a “windowless basement” strategy in which candidates prioritize fundraising over grassroots support. While fellow Tillis challenger Erica Smith has firmly defined her progressive platform, Cunningham, whom the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed in October, remains vague on policy and does not have an event page on his campaign site.