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Madison Cawthorn tries to survive main while slip-ups mount

Madison Cawthorn tries to survive main while slip-ups mount

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn's prominent part while the youngest pro-Donald Trump agitator inside Congress tin rub people on the just with every one other accompanied by the left-hand the incorrect way inside his North Carolina district.

That's made the 26-year-old the arts warrior a communal media political fame with every one other accompanied by victorious 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 with every one other accompanied by personal errors has brought both the strength of big-name condition Republicans with every one other accompanied by orthodox enemies to convey opposed to Cawthorn's reelection bid. Some blunders have been headline-grabbing, exist fond of one that rankled GOP colleagues who exist convinced by he insinuated they were holding orgies with every one other accompanied by snorting cocaine. Others have been salacious, exist fond of not long ago released videos showing him inside sexually suggestive poses.

But at home, the most consequential may have been when he decided to sprint 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 set of two top Republican leaders inside the General Assembly have thrown their support to a Cawthorn competitor — condition Sen. Chuck Edwards, one of septet challengers inside the May 17 primary. With Trump winning North Carolina twice with every one other accompanied by endorsing Cawthorn this year, his reelection inside a Republican-leaning seat inside a strong GOP year would have seemed likely.

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Now, following fair one word inside office, the upstart congressman faces a durable main challenge, accompanied by a difficult general election fight if he survives.

"I don't know what has happened to him, nevertheless I do know this: The people of western North Carolina have not been represented inside Washington, D.C.," said Michele Woodhouse, who was on one occasion a Cawthorn associate nevertheless is now running opposed to him.

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., endorsed Edwards inside the contest inside late March, saying, "Cawthorn has fallen well short of the most basic standards western North Carolina expects from their representatives." A excellent PAC aligned accompanied by Tillis is taking the uncommon deed of spending $1.5 million inside the neighbourhood on mailers with every one other accompanied by TV ads, one of which calls Cawthorn a "reckless embarassment" with every one other accompanied by "dishonest disaster."

Cawthorn is fighting back, accusing the Washington setting up with every one other accompanied by Tillis of trying to shut him down.

"I have never folded inside Washington with every one other accompanied by the swamp hates me for it," he says inside an ad. "They want someone who will build backroom deals to sell not here our values with every one other accompanied by someone who will renounce America First principles."

The 11th District meadow became packed accompanied by well-known or well-funded challengers following Cawthorn decided inside the let fall to sprint inside another neighbourhood closer to Charlotte under boundaries retooled throughout redistricting that would have made his footpath to reelection a a large amount of easier.

But the statewide House scheme was struck down by condition courts, with every one other accompanied by its reshaping ultimately forced Cawthorn inside late February to return to what is mostly the 11th District he currently represents. Meanwhile, Edwards, Woodhouse with every one other accompanied by other Republicans had been running there for months.

"It's understandable that his attentiveness was to go somewhere else with every one other accompanied by seek a political career someplace else following we, including myself inside this district, worked to obtain him elected," Edwards said inside an interview. "He turned his spine on us."

Cawthorn's military operation said he wasn't available for an interview. Campaign spokesperson Luke Ball wrote inside an email that the congressman is "focused on moving forward, uniting the NC-11 GOP, with every one other accompanied by winning the November election, not relitigating the redistricting process."

Cawthorn infuriated his fellow Republicans inside Congress when he alleged on a podcast that he had been invited to an orgy inside Washington with every one other accompanied by that he had seen leaders inside the movement to extremity medicine addiction use cocaine. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy reprimanded him publicly for the remarks.

He's been stopped by police trio times since October — set of two inside which he was cited for speeding with every one other accompanied by one for driving accompanied by a revoked license. He's been caught accompanied by guns at airfield checkpoints twice inside the past year, including set of two weeks ago. He called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a "thug" following Russia invaded the country.

"It was analogous to ripping Santa Claus on Christmas Eve," said Chris Cooper, a Western Carolina University political science professor.

In a almost eight-minute video posted on communal media last week, Cawthorn apologized for speeding with every one other accompanied by acknowledged that carrying a firearm into and not here of airfield safety was a mistake: "I have to own this one."

But he pushed spine opposed to other allegations made inside report articles, calling them "outlandish." And he subsequent described set of two videos depicting him inside sexually suggestive poses while small portion of a "drip campaign" by his enemies to flood the neighbourhood accompanied by negative stories inside the race's final days.

"I was actuality crass accompanied by a friend, trying to exist funny," he tweeted concerning one video. "We were acting foolish, with every one other accompanied by joking, that's it. I'm NOT backing down."

In 2020, numerous conservatives saw Cawthorn while a rising celestial body who could convey young people into the party. He turned 25 — the constitutionally mandated lowest level number of years to work for inside the House — throughout the campaign.

Cawthorn, who uses a wheelchair following actuality partially paralyzed from a automobile accident while a teenager, vaulted to prominence by winning a main runoff for the seat actuality vacated by Mark Meadows, Trump's leader of staff. Both Meadows with every one other accompanied by Trump had endorsed Cawthorn's main rival, nevertheless the former president in a short time became an ally.

"I deep affection him since he's never controversial," Trump joked at a rally last month accompanied by Cawthorn. "There's no indeed controversy. But you know what? He loves this country. He loves this condition with every one other accompanied by I'll tell you, he is respected all over the place. He's got a large voice."

Some constituents exist convinced by he's additional attentive inside inflaming the the arts wars or striking a constitute on Instagram than helping the district.

Dairy farmer Bradley Johnston, 59, an unaffiliated voter from Henderson County, said Cawthorn seemed exist fond of a "smart young man" who "we all idea would go to Washington with every one other accompanied by symbolize the values that we liked."

"He just, inside my opinion, has not conducted himself inside the ways that he's going to exist intelligent to exist a a large amount of of a representative down the road," Johnston said. Registered independents tin ballot inside the GOP primary, with every one other accompanied by Johnston is supporting innmotel operator Bruce O'Connell.

Early in-person voting ends Saturday. If the top vote-getter following Tuesday doesn't receive additional than 30% of the votes cast, the set of two leading candidates will go to a July runoff. In the six-candidate Democratic primary, minister with every one other accompanied by LGBTQ activist Jasmine Beach-Ferrara has been the top fundraiser.

Even if Cawthorn wins the primary, he's not yet completely avoided a ceremonial be brave enough of his candidacy by voters who speak he should exist disqualified over his involvement inside the "Stop the Steal" rally that preceded the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

Cawthorn got a confederate judge to chunk the condition board of elections from examining the challenge. That ruling is on appeal.

While the 11th District, which stretches 160 miles from the orient of Asheville to the northern Georgia border, is a haven for retirees, it could exist new voters who resolve the race.

"Madison is a extremely flashy human being with every one other accompanied by a personality himself," said Brian Penland, 22, of Franklin, a Western Carolina University student who declined to present with his preference inside the race. "Whether people exist fond of him or not ... he is here with every one other accompanied by he has made his trample inside western North Carolina. And the relax of it is up to the voters."

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Follow AP for filled coverage of the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections with every one other accompanied by on Twitter, https://twitter.com/ap_politics

Madison Cawthorn tries to survive main while slip-ups mount

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