Cunningham concedes, Tillis wins North Carolina Senate seat

Tracking presidential results and the senate race between Thom Tillis and Cal Cunningham.

With 98% of votes tallied, Thom Tillis has been projected to win the Senate seat in North Carolina. Cal Cunningham has conceded, bringing Republican control of the Senate closer to reality.

The Race

Riding a red wave in 2015, Senator Tillis narrowly won the North Carolina senate race over the Democratic incumbent and is now running for his second term. Cal Cunningham announced in 2019 that he would challenge Tillis in the 2020 election as a Democrat. Cunningham previously ran in 2010, but lost in the primary.

Tillis served as the Speaker of the North Carolina House until 2015, where he worked to block the expansion of Medicaid and passed more stringent voting requirements. As senator, Tillis has tried to distance himself from Trump though he supported the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett and opposed the impeachment trial of the president. He was also accused of flip-flopping on his original promises after writing an op-ed stating he wouldn’t support more border wall funding, then later voting to pass it.

Cunningham is a retired military official and former state senator. Most recently, he worked for the environmental services company WasteZero. His campaign emphasizes his good character and military background, while also advocating for the election to be a referendum about healthcare, specifically the expansion of the Affordable Care Act.

Positions on issues

PositionsThom TillisCal Cunningham
HealthcareVoted in favor of an Obamacare repeal, as well as previously making it more difficult for a Medicaid expansion in North Carolina.Believes in the expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina and an expansion of the Affordable Care Act, including an expansion of a public option.
ImmigrationOriginally opposed additional border wall spending in fears over later Democratic overreach. However, he later voted in favor of increasing border wall funding after pressure from fellow Republicans. Supports comprehensive immigration reform that protects “dreamers” and “provides a fair pathway to citizenship.”
EconomySupported the 2017 tax cuts. More recently, he supported a loan forgiveness program for NC businesses and an economic relief package in March.Supports raising the minimum wage to $15/hr. He also opposed the 2017 tax cuts, considering them as only supporting the wealthy.
Civil RightsSupports promoting the Second Amendment and introduced legislation to allow concealed-handguns to be carried across state lines.Cunningham’s platform emphasizes “supporting efforts to expand background checks, ban the sale of high-capacity magazines, pass extreme risk laws, and fund gun violence research on an issue that has become a public health crisis.”
Covid-19Advocated for people to wear face coverings and called to provide resources back in March for North Carolinians. He has also praised Trump in March on the Covid response.Called out President Trump for his lack of preparation around COVID-19.
Climate ChangeSupported Trump leaving the Paris Climate Accord back in 2017. His platform states he believes in “using market-driven solutions” to address climate change.Believes in supporting clean energy initiatives, specifically calling for more solar energy. He also believes there needs to be more protections for the environment in North Carolina.


In October, both candidates were hit with scandals. In light of Donald Trump getting the coronavirus, Thom Tillis also was infected with coronavirus and had to stay home for two weeks during his home stretch of campaigning.

On the other hand, Cal Cunningham was faced with questions over his moral character after sexually explicit text messages were released showing Cunningham being involved in an extramarital affair.


FiveThirty Eight has Cunningham having higher chances to win the Senate race. On average, Cunningham has led Tillis by three percentage points. Real Clear Politics' average shows Cunningham leading by 2.5 percentage points. An NBC News/Marist College poll found out of 800 likely voters, Cunningham led by 10 points.


Updated Nov. 10, 5:00 p.m.

Tillis projected to win North Carolina Senate seat.

Updated Nov. 3, 10:45 p.m.

Still waiting for final North Carolina results

With 95% of votes tallied, Trump is still in the lead in North Carolina with 50.1% of the vote. Tillis is also leading in North Carolina with 48.7% of the vote, while Cunningham has 46.9%. The libertarian candidate Shannon Bray and the Constitution party candidate make up 4.2% of the vote.

Updated Nov. 3, 7:45 p.m.

Trump and Tillis leading in North Carolina

With 89% of votes tallied, both Trump and Tillis are leading in North Carolina, with NYT believing Trump is likely to win North Carolina. However, both races are still too close to call.

Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has been reelected in North Carolina.

Updated Nov. 3, 6:15 p.m.

North Carolina Elections are a Toss Up

Exit polls show both the presidential and senatorial election are too close to call.

Biden seems to narrowly lead support of independent voters, whereas in 2016, Trump won a majority of independent voters. Biden also leads women voters, while White evangelicals overwhelmingly support Trump.

Updated Nov. 3, 3:10 p.m.

North Carolina Extends Voting at four precincts

The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted to extend voting at four precincts, delaying official election reporting by 45 minutes. The vote was to ensure there was time to fix minor issues in the precincts over slight voter disruption. As of now, North Carolina will begin to release election results starting at 5:15 pm. P.T.