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A Pivotal Senate Race in North Carolina

In the struggle to control the U.S. Senate, one race in North Carolina — where the Republican incumbent, Thom Tillis, is trying to hold off his Democratic challenger, Cal Cunningham — could be crucial.

North Carolina is a classic purple state with a split political mind: progressive in some quarters, while firmly steeped in Southern conservative tradition in others.

Two bombshells have recently upended the race: Mr. Tillis fell ill with the coronavirus after attending an event for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination without a mask. And Mr. Cunningham’s image was sullied by the emergence of text messages showing that he had engaged in an extramarital affair.

Jonathan Martin, a national political correspondent for The Times, talks us through the race and examines the factors that could determine who prevails.

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Jonathan Martin contributed reporting.

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