Madison Cawthorn Loses GOP Primary Amid Controversies
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Republicans in western North Carolina on Tuesday voted to oust Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) from Congress, choosing state Sen. Chuck Edwards as the GOP nominee for the heavily conservative 11th congressional district, according to the Associated Press, after a stretch of controversy left the congressman out of favor with party leaders in Washington.

Key Facts

The AP called the race for Edwards at 11:09 p.m. Eastern time, as Edwards led Cawthorn 33.4% to 31.9% with nearly all the vote counted.

Cawthorn called Edwards at around 10 p.m. Tuesday to concede defeat, according to multiple reports, citing Cawthorn spokesman Luke Ball.

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Cawthorn and reaffirmed support for him on Monday, saying on Truth Social: “Recently, he made some foolish mistakes, which I don’t believe he’ll make again.”

Edwards largely avoided criticizing Trump during the campaign, but slammed Cawthorn’s conduct and blasted the congressman for riling up a crowd of Trump supporters at a rally on January 6, 2021, which went on to attack the U.S. Capitol.

Much of Cawthorn’s support came from rural areas, while Edwards fared better in more populated parts of the district, winning Buncombe County, home of Asheville.

Key Background

Cawthorn has long been a favorite of Trump and the hard-right wing of the GOP, but he’s faced criticism from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other top Republicans over the past few months. McCarthy said he told Cawthorn to make life choices to “turn himself around” when the two met on March 30 to discuss Cawthorn’s allegations that D.C. political figures invited him to orgies and did cocaine in front of him–claims Cawthorn admitted he exaggerated, according to McCarthy. But the wave of controversy engulfing Cawthorn only grew in the following weeks. Sexually suggestive image leaks showing Cawthorn in women’s lingerie and naked in bed with another man especially grabbed headlines, given the congressman claims to live by traditional, conservative Christain values. Cawthorn has also faced legal troubles recently. In late April, he was cited for having a gun in his carry-on bag at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, while Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) called for an investigation into allegations Cawthorn took part in an insider trading scheme involving Let’s Go Brandon cryptocurrency.

Surprising Fact

Cawthorn was only 25 when he won his first House term in 2020, making 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)

Madison Cawthorn Cited For Carrying Gun At Charlotte Airport (Forbes)

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