Image Source: Fox News
According to the Associated Press, Republicans in western North Carolina voted on Tuesday to remove Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) from Congress, electing state Senator Chuck Edwards as the GOP nominee for the heavily conservative 11th congressional district, after the congressman fell out of favor with party leaders in Washington due to a series of scandals.
With nearly all of the votes counted, the Associated Press declared Edwards the winner at 11:09 p.m. Eastern time.
According to multiple reports citing Cawthorn spokesman Luke Ball, Cawthorn called Edwards at around 10 p.m. Tuesday to admit defeat.
On Monday, former President Donald Trump praised Cawthorn and renewed his support for him on Truth Social, adding, “Recently, he made some silly mistakes, which I don’t believe he’ll make again.”
During the campaign, Edwards mostly avoided criticizing Trump, but he chastised Cawthorn for energizing a crowd of Trump supporters at a rally on January 6, 2021, which then attacked the US Capitol.
Cawthorn had a lot of support from rural areas, although Edwards did better in more crowded areas, winning Buncombe County, which includes Asheville.
Cawthorn has long been a favorite of Trump and the hard-right wing of the Republican Party, but he has recently come under fire from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other key Republicans. 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– McCarthy said he told him to make life choices to “turn himself around.” The scandal that engulfed Cawthorn only intensified in the weeks that followed. Given Cawthorn’s claims to live by traditional, conservative Christian beliefs, sexually suggestive image releases showing him in women’s lingerie and naked in bed with another man drew a lot of attention. Cawthorn has recently been involved in legal issues. He was cited for possessing a gun in his carry-on luggage at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in late April, as Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) called for an investigation into charges Cawthorn was involved in an insider trading scheme involving the cryptocurrency Let’s Go Brandon.
Cawthorn was 25 years old when he was elected to Congress for the first time in 2020, making him the youngest member of Congress since Jed Johnson Jr. in 1964.