- Rep. Madison Cawthorn is running in a close GOP primary for re-election in North Carolina.
- Cawthorn’s first term in office has been riddled with scandals and controversies.
- His GOP challengers are hoping his public image will help them oust him, NBC News reported.
Opponents of GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn are hoping the freshman congressman’s public image following a number of controversies will help them beat him in the upcoming primary, NBC News reported.
“What folks are concerned with here is they don’t feel that they have a voice in Washington, D.C., because our congressman has been jet-setting around the country, getting involved in other races, going to other events,” state Sen. Chuck Edwards, the most prominent challenger, told NBC News.
The 26-year-old freshman congressman from North Carolina has faced a number of controversies and scandals since taking office.
Cawthorn was accused of sexual harassment by former college classmates last year. Several individuals told Buzzfeed News that Cawthorn would take women on “fun drives” where he’d corner them with sexual advances. He has also been charged with driving with a revoked license. He defended rioters who stormed the US Capitol during the January 6 insurrection and called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyya a “thug” and said the Ukrainian government was “evil.”
Images of Cawthorn in lingerie also surfaced online, which he called “goofy vacation photos.” He’s been cited for bringing a loaded gun into the Charlotte airport — for which he apologized — and accused of violating the STOCK Act by not declaring cryptocurrency purchases. A nude video of the congressman has also been leaked, amongst several other controversies.
Former campaign volunteers have since refused to support Cawthorn, saying he’s “turned his back” on his district and values ahead of the May 17 primaries where he’s facing off against a number of GOP candidates.
“He fooled the hell out of everybody,” Bruce Rose told Insider’s Camila DeChalus. “I despise him … he is a criminal and a performer.”
Despite this, NBC News reported that because of the large number of GOP candidates, the Trump-backed incumbent could still win the primary, as North Carolina only requires a candidate to win more than 30% of the vote, but opponents told the outlet they are optimistic about efforts to oust him.
Seven candidates running in North Carolina’s GOP primary.
For now, some constituents who voted for Cawthorn in 2020 also told NBC News they’re not impressed with his first term.
“He’s a hot mess,” Susan Newman, 53, a teacher said. “I really don’t see him doing anything in the district — and he just keeps getting in trouble.”
A representative for Cawthron did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.