Rep. Madison Cawthorn is running for re-election in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District
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Rep. Madison Cawthorn is trailing his top rival, state Senator Chuck Edwards by single digits in the political fight of his life as the scandal-plagued Republican battles to keep his seat in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional district.

More than three-quarters of the vote has been counted but the race remains too close to call. 

Cawthorn whittled the local lawmaker’s lead down to single digits after falling behind Edwards by more than 10 points early in the race.

The 26-year-old Republican’s re-election bid has proven to be a test of Donald Trump’s endorsement strength, as election watchers wait to see whether the ex-president’s support could push him over the line despite a litany of recent public relations crises.

Meanwhile in the state’s GOP Senate primary, Trump’s endorsement was enough to push relatively little-known lawmaker Rep. Ted Budd to victory as the Republican candidate to replace retiring Senator Richard Burr. 

Budd was declared the winner by multiple outlets less than an hour after polls closed.

He had trailed former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory in early polls before Trump’s endorsement sent his public profile skyrocketing. 

Another Trump-backed candidate, 26-year-old former college football player Bo Hines, has an early lead in the state’s 13th Congressional District Republican primary. 

Candidates in North Carolina’s elections need just over a 30 percent share of the vote to avoid a runoff election.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn is running for re-election in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District

Rep. Ted Budd is running to replace retiring GOP Senator Richard Burr

Rep. Madison Cawthorn is running for re-election in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District and Rep. Ted Budd is running to replace retiring GOP Senator Richard Burr

The state has also shattered its previous records for early voting in a primary, with more than 576,000 ballots cast before Election Day. 

As of last month, Cawthorn was polling at 38 percent in the Tar Heel State’s 11th Congressional District. 

It’s double-digits above Edwards, but an 11-point slump from March after grappling with the fallout of multiple scandals. 

Both races are testing the strength of Donald Trump's endorsement power

Both races are testing the strength of Donald Trump’s endorsement power

Cawthorn has been cited for bringing a handgun in his carry on luggage at the airport twice since being elected to Congress, and has been pulled over by North Carolina highway patrol at least three times.

He earned backlash from members of his own party both in North Carolina and in Congress for claiming on a podcast to have been invited to an orgy where he witnessed senior lawmakers doing cocaine. 

The young firebrand was also criticized for calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a ‘thug’ in the midst of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and was forced to answer for a video featuring himself naked and simulating a sex act with an unknown person, and one published by DailyMail.com showing the congressman’s male scheduler placing his hand on Cawthorn’s crotch.

Cawthorn has dismissed the laundry list of faux-pas as ‘blackmail’ in a coordinated ‘drip campaign’ to keep him from winning re-election.

Roughly $1.5 million has been spent outside of North Carolina to keep Cawthorn from victory.

Leading the charge against him is North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, who told NBC earlier on Tuesday: ‘If there’s a runoff, Cawthorn loses.’

‘I believe everybody deserves second chances, that’s why I voted for a lot of the criminal justice reform bills. But at a certain point, this becomes a pattern of behavior,’ Tillis said. 

Former college football player Bo Hines, who is running in North Carolina's 13th Congressional District, has drawn comparisons to Cawthorn. The 26-year-old candidate is also endorsed by Trump

Former college football player Bo Hines, who is running in North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, has drawn comparisons to Cawthorn. The 26-year-old candidate is also endorsed by Trump

Bombshell new photos show Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who recently accused his fellow lawmakers of inviting him to orgies and doing cocaine in front of him, dressed in women's lingerie, chugging wine and surrounded by women

The photos, obtained by Politico and look to make even the most devoted partiers blush, show the 26-year-old Republican with a vacant look in his eyes, wearing women's hoop earrings and a woman's necklace along with a bra and lingerie seT

Bombshell photos show Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who recently accused his fellow lawmakers of inviting him to orgies and doing cocaine in front of him, dressed in women’s lingerie, chugging wine and surrounded by women

In this photo obtained by WSOC, Cawthorn is at Charlotte Douglas International Airport after TSA allegedly found a gun in his carry-on luggage

In this photo obtained by WSOC, Cawthorn is at Charlotte Douglas International Airport after TSA allegedly found a gun in his carry-on luggage

In this photo obtained by WSOC, Cawthorn is at Charlotte Douglas International Airport after TSA allegedly found a gun in his carry-on luggage

In this photo obtained by WSOC, Cawthorn is at Charlotte Douglas International Airport after TSA allegedly found a gun in his carry-on luggage

This photo provided by the Transportation Security Administration shows a 9mm Staccato C2 handgun that officials say was found in the bag

This photo provided by the Transportation Security Administration shows a 9mm Staccato C2 handgun that officials say was found in the bag

However Trump gave Cawthorn a last-minute boost in the early hours of Monday morning after it was reported last week that the scandals made the ex-president uneasy about his March 2021 endorsement.

‘At 18 years of age, Madison Cawthorn, the now 26 year old Congressman from the Great State of North Carolina, went through a life changing event the likes of which, fortunately, few people will ever have to endure,’ Trump wrote on his platform Truth Social.

The former president was referring to a fiery 2014 car wreck that left Cawthorn paralyzed from the waist down and in need of a wheelchair. 

His post continued, ‘In just seconds, he lost the use of the lower half of his body, a traumatic experience to say the least.’

‘When Madison was first elected to Congress, he did a great job. Recently, he made some foolish mistakes, which I don’t believe he’ll make again…let’s give Madison a second chance!’

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