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Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-N.C.) tumultuous stretch of personal scandal and legal trouble might be starting to hurt him politically, according to a poll from a national Republican group, which found the controversies have seriously hurt the freshman congressman’s image among his constituents.

Key Facts

The poll, commissioned by Republican training organization GOPAC, found Cawthorn with just 38% support among Republican primary voters in North Carolina’s 11th congressional District.

The 38% support is 11 percentage points lower than the 49% Cawthorn had in GOPAC’s poll of the race last month.

Cawthorn still holds a large lead over his top opponent, state Sen. Chuck Edwards (R), but Edwards’ support jumped from 14% to 21% between March and April, according to the poll.

The poll, which surveyed likely Republican primary voters on Monday and Tuesday, also found the congressman’s favorability rating fell from 64% in March to 51% this week, while his job approval rating dropped from 66% to 54%.

Early voting for the GOP primary began Thursday, with Election Day set for May 17.

Crucial Quote

“Will Madison Cawthorn lose the primary on May 17th? The short answer: maybe,” a polling memo said. “By every metric, Cawthorn’s campaign trajectory is terrible.”

What To Watch For

A runoff will only be held for the GOP primary if no candidates receive over 30% of the vote. If the 30% threshold is hit, the top candidate captures the GOP nomination.

Key Background

Over the past 10 days, Cawthorn has been cited for bringing a gun to an airport, been implicated in an alleged insider trading scheme and been called a hypocrite by critics after leaked photographs showed the self-proclaimed traditional Christian drinking and wearing women’s lingerie at a party. Republican leaders were already upset with Cawthorn before this stretch. Late last month, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told Cawthorn to make life choices to “turn himself around” after Cawthorn claimed D.C. political figures invited him to orgies and did cocaine in front of him. McCarthy said Cawthorn privately admitted the allegations were either made up or exaggerated.


Former President Donald Trump has raved about Cawthorn, saying at a GOP event last summer the congressman is a “handsome sucker” that has a “good future.” Cawthorn was a featured speaker at Trump’s rally in North Carolina on April 9.

Surprising Fact

Cawthorn, 26, is the youngest member of Congress. His win in the 2020 election made him the youngest person elected to Congress since Jed Johnson Jr. in 1964.

Further Reading

A Time Line Of Madison Cawthorn’s Missteps—From Visiting Nazi Retreat To Wild Orgy Claims (Forbes)

‘He’s Lost My Trust’: McCarthy Rebukes Cawthorn Over Allegations Of Orgies And Cocaine Use (Forbes)

Trump Invites Cawthorn To Speak At Rally After Fallout With GOP Leadership Over Orgy Claim (Forbes)

Source: Forbes

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