You’ve got to hand it to North Carolina — they have some truly scrumptious scandals down in the Tar Heel State.
Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham found himself in hot water on Monday night after tweeting a photo of himself standing next to a gas grill, spatula in hand as he apparently readied hot dogs and hamburgers. “There’s nothing better than BBQ — except for winning this Senate seat, of course,” he wrote as a caption.
There’s nothing better than BBQ—except for winning this Senate seat, of course. pic.twitter.com/oEsDXIZ5O2
— Cal Cunningham (@CalforNC) September 28, 2020
But North Carolinians quickly took issue with the fact that “the tweet itself appears to suggest, wrongly, that barbecue can be made on a gas grill, or worse, that grilling falls within the realm of barbecue,” explains the Raleigh-based News & Observer. Sure enough, Cunningham was soon the target of many angry foodies online:
My dude, folks are not going to think you really have a whole hog on that tiny grill. And I know you are not referring to cooking hotdogs & burgers as “BBQ.”
It may behoove you to issue a statement on NC barbecue forthwith. You can thank me later.
— Aylett “What’s your voting plan?” Colston (@EveryVoiceNC) September 29, 2020
This is Dukakis in a tank bad in North Carolina. Why. https://t.co/POTba6FIot
— Rory Cooper (@rorycooper) September 29, 2020
Sure enough, the North Carolina GOP even issued a statement, slamming Cunningham by writing, “In North Carolina, we have Eastern BBQ and Western BBQ but neither involves a spatula, hot dog buns or gas grills. Cunningham is an elitist trial lawyer, and this BBQ gaffe demonstrates that he is out of touch with North Carolina voters who actually know what North Carolina BBQ is.”
Cunningham, a native of Lexington, quickly backtracked, telling The News & Observer that he would never mix up grilling with barbecuing. “No self-respecting son of Lexington would ever do that,” he emphasized, claiming he’d only used the term because he was showing off his new campaign swag, an apron which reads — perhaps now rather audaciously — “Ambassador for North Carolina BBQ.” Jeva Lange