The youngest member of Congress and a staunch ally of Donald Trump failed on a major political gamble after a series of embarrassing scandals.
Madison Cawthorn, the youngest member of Congress, failed to keep her House seat after critics said the 26-year-old brought too much negative attention to her North Carolina district.
On Tuesday night, Cawthorn made a concession phone call to state Sen. Chuck Edwards, whose legislative seat falls within the House district, foxnews informed.
Edwards had the support of Republican North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, and several other Republican officials.
“This is just unbelievable,” Edwards said Tuesday night in declaring victory.
“Against all odds, we fought hard to win this election and provide clear Conservative leadership for the mountains.”
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Mr. Edwards told voters that he has a history of producing conservative results for the district.
“I think he got lost in political stardom and forgot what his role was here at home,” Edwards said earlier this week of Cawthorn.
Cawthorn’s congressional race has been something to watch during Tuesday’s Republican primary in North Carolina, as well as the Republican Senate primary.
Shortly after the polls closed, the Associated Press called out the Republican race for Rep. Ted Budd.
It was a victory for former President Trump, who last summer endorsed Budd for the vacant seat over former Governor Pat McCrory and former Representative Mark Walker.
Cawthorn’s fall from grace marked a remarkable change for the young Republican.
Once hailed as a rising star in the party who can counter the so-called progressive Democratic “Squad” led by Sen. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with an “America First” message, Cawthorn had a rocky re-election, with certain Republican leaders from the Congress losing faith. on him after a series of questionable actions.
Cawthorn stood by former President Trump, who urged supporters in a last-minute message on his Truth Social site not to give up on the young congressman: “Recently, he’s made some dumb mistakes, which I don’t think he’s going to make.” do again,” Trump posted this week. “Let’s give Madison a second chance!”
Heading into the primaries and even during the vote count, Cawthorn was optimistic, although he acknowledged that he is “closer than I thought.”
“We have high hopes of winning,” Cawthorn told Fox News Digital shortly after 9 pm as he followed Edwards. “I don’t think this is going to a second round.”
He said the reason the race was so close was because his party worked to oust him.
“The biggest thing is probably the coordinated strike that has actually been carried out by members of my own party,” Cawthorn said.
“I think there is a war between which version of conservatism and republicanism is going to advance.”
Cawthorn drew seven Republican challengers. In addition to Edwards, Michele Woodhouse, the Republican chairwoman of North Carolina’s 11th congressional district, said it was time for Cawthorn to go.
Ms Woodhouse said Mr Cawthorn endorsed her to run in the 11th district as “America’s first candidate” when she decided last year to run in a neighboring district that would have given her a bigger profile in the media market. of Charlotte. But when the redistricting lines were redrawn, Mr. Cawthorn decided to run in 11th place, but at the time, Ms. Woodhouse didn’t want to get out of the race.
Ms. Woodhouse told Fox News Digital that she would bring “honor to the office … and never bring lewd headlines to this district that are embarrassing to voters here.”
Cawthorn shot to political stardom during his speech at the Republican National Convention in 2020, where he dramatically rose from his wheelchair.
Mr. Cawthorn was partially paralyzed in a car accident at the age of 18. He enjoys a huge following on social media and talks about creating a “new Republican Party” that inspires young people.
But during his short political career, problems soon began to mount.
He faced allegations of sexual misconduct, which he denied. He was stopped twice by airport security for trying to bring a loaded gun onto a plane.
In March, North Carolina police cited him for driving on a revoked license. That is in addition to two previous traffic violations for speeding at 140 and 143 km/h.
In March, Cawthorn was widely reprimanded by colleagues, including Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, for claiming in a podcast interview that he had been invited to “an orgy” in Washington, solicited sexually, and had seen leaders use cocaine. . Cawthorn later said that he was not specifically talking about fellow Republican politicians of his.
“He has lost my confidence,” McCarthy said in response to the controversy.
In April, Politico published photos of Cawthorn partying in lingerie. The Daily Mail then published photos of Cawthorn’s close aide and the schedule of him touching his crotch, along with an ethics complaint alleging the congressman gave the employee thousands of dollars in loans and gifts. Cawthorn’s team said the photos were taken before Congress and that the assistant is his cousin, who regularly helps him with his disability.
Then, earlier this month, a video was posted of a naked Mr. Cawthorn doing thrusting motions on top of another person on a bed.
Cawthorn explained that the video was from years ago. “He was being rude to a friend, trying to be funny. We were being silly and kidding around,” he said on Twitter, adding, “Blackmail will not win. We will do it.”
Senator Thom Tillis was actively trying to expel Mr. Cawthorn from Congress and even accused him of insider trading.
He endorsed Mr. Edwards, saying the 11th Congressional District deserved someone who is “totally dedicated” to serving his constituents.
“Republicans elected Chuck Edwards tonight because he is the embodiment of Mountain values who will fight for them every day in Congress with honor and integrity,” Senator Tillis said Tuesday night.
Under North Carolina primary rules, if no candidate got above 30 percent, there would have been a primary runoff election on July 26 between the first- and second-place finishers.
With 9 per cent of the votes counted, Mr Edwards received 33.5 per cent of the vote to Mr Cawthorn’s 31.7 per cent. They were followed by Matthew Burril with 9.5 percent; Bruce O’Connell with 6.9 percent; Rod Honeycutt at 6.5 percent; Michele Woodhouse with 5.3 percent; Wendy Nevarez with 5.1 percent and Kristie Sluder with 1.5 percent.
Edwards will face Democrat Jasmine Beach-Ferrara in the November election.
In the Senate race, the victory was an impressive turnaround for Budd. For months, Budd was unable to take advantage of the former president’s endorsement to boost his poll numbers and fundraising numbers.
“I think it was huge,” Budd told Fox News Digital on Tuesday of Trump’s endorsement.
“But it really helps, especially when you work hard like we have. We have stayed focused. We have worked hard. Stay humble and go out and ask people for their prayers, their support and their vote.”
Trump held a pro-Budd rally in North Carolina in early April, and in recent weeks the congressman has risen to favorite status in the increasingly contentious primary matchup.
Walker defied pressure from Trump to drop out of the Senate primary and instead run for a fourth term in the House with the former president’s endorsement.
McCrory entered the race with the most visibility, having served as governor from 2013 to 2017.
In November, Budd will face Democratic candidate Cheri Beasley, a former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.
In the state, the election should be close as both sides will pour millions into the race that will help decide control of the 50-50 split Senate.
Paul Steinhauser and Matt Leach of Fox News contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on Fox News and is reproduced with permission.
Originally published as Congresswoman Madison Cawthorn loses the Republican primary after a series of scandals