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Cal Cunningham, the Democrat running to unseat incumbent GOP Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina, acknowledged Friday that he sent intimate text messages to a woman who isn’t his wife, according to the Raleigh-based News & Observer.

Why it matters: Tillis and Cunningham's race is a key competition for Democrats as they try to win control of the Senate, though Cunningham has said he won’t drop out.

What they're saying: Cunningham apologized in a Friday night statement released by his campaign.

  • “I have hurt my family, disappointed my friends, and am deeply sorry,” Cunningham said in the statement, according to the Washington Post. “The first step in repairing those relationships is taking complete responsibility, which I do. I ask that my family’s privacy be respected in this personal matter.”
  • Cunningham said he has no plans of dropping out of the race.
  • “I remain grateful and humbled by the ongoing support that North Carolinians have extended in this campaign, and in the remaining weeks before this election I will continue to work to earn the opportunity to fight for the people of our state,” he said.

The big picture: Tillis, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Friday he tested positive for coronavirus. The two candidates debated in-person in Raleigh on Thursday night.

Go deeper

Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan wins re-election in Alaska

Sen. Dan Sullivan. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK.) on Wednesday won re-election against Al Gross, an independent running as a Democrat, AP reports.

Why it matters: With the Alaska race results in, Republicans now have a 49-48 hold on the Senate. Neither party can claim the majority until the January runoff elections in Georgia.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Jen Psaki: "With that I’d love to take your questions”

In her inaugural briefing as White House press secretary, Jen Psaki said she has a “deep respect for the role of a free and independent press in our democracy,” and pledged to hold daily briefings.

Why it matters: Conferences with the press secretary in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room became almost non-existent under the Trump administration. By sending Psaki to the podium hours after President Biden took the oath of office, the White House signaled a return to pre-Trump norms.

Avril Haines confirmed as director of national intelligence

Haines. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Image

Avril Haines was quickly confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday as the director of national intelligence (DNI) in a vote of 84-10.

Why it matters: Haines is the first of President Biden's nominees to receive a full Senate confirmation and she will be the first woman to serve as DNI. She's previously served as CIA deputy director from 2013 to 2015 and deputy national security adviser from 2015 to 2017.