U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s prominent role as the youngest pro-Donald Trump agitator in Congress can rub people on the right and the left the wrong way in his North Carolina district.
That’s made the 26-year-old culture warrior a social media political celebrity and successful fundraiser. He’s near the top of the list of the former president’s most vocal allies on Capitol Hill.
But a series of unforced political and personal errors has brought both the force of big-name state Republicans and traditional enemies to bear against Cawthorn’s reelection bid. Some blunders have been headline-grabbing, like one that rankled GOP colleagues who believe he insinuated they were holding orgies and snorting cocaine. Others have been salacious, like recently released videos showing him in sexually suggestive poses.
But at home, the most consequential may have been when he decided to run for a different U.S. House seat, only to return to the mountainous 11th Congressional District that he now represents when redistricting litigation shifted the lines again.
The two top Republican leaders in the General Assembly have thrown their support to a Cawthorn rival — state Sen. Chuck Edwards, one of seven challengers in the May 17 primary. With Trump winning North Carolina twice and endorsing Cawthorn this year, his reelection in a Republican-leaning seat in a strong GOP year would have seemed likely.
Now, after just one term in office, the upstart congressman faces a tough primary challenge, with a difficult general election fight if he survives.
“I don’t know what has happened to him, but I do know this: The people of western North Carolina have not been represented in Washington, D.C.,” said Michele Woodhouse, who was once a Cawthorn ally but is now running against him.
U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., endorsed Edwards in the race in late March, saying, “Cawthorn has fallen well short of the most basic standards western North Carolina expects from their representatives.” A super PAC aligned with Tillis is taking the unusual action of spending $1.5 million in the district on mailers and TV ads, one of which calls Cawthorn a “reckless embarassment” and ”dishonest disaster.”
Cawthorn is fighting back, accusing the Washington establishment and Tillis of trying to shut him down.
“I have never folded in Washington and the swamp hates me for it,” he says in an ad. “They want someone who will make backroom deals to sell out our values and someone who will abandon America First principles.”
The 11th District field became crowded with well-known or well-funded challengers after Cawthorn decided in the fall to run in another district closer to Charlotte under boundaries retooled during redistricting that would have made his path to reelection much easier.
But the statewide House map was struck down by state courts, and its reshaping ultimately forced Cawthorn in late February to return to what is largely the 11th District he currently represents. Meanwhile, Edwards, Woodhouse and other Republicans had been running there for months.
“It’s clear that his interest was to move somewhere else and seek a political …read more
Source:: Politics Headlines
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