Madison Cawthorn’s ‘Career’s Not Over’ After Primary Defeat

  • McCarthy expressed some sympathy for Madison Cawthorn after the freshman congressman lost his primary.
  • The Republican House leader said he still wants “to help” the 26-year-old lawmaker.
  • Cawthorn conceded defeat on Tuesday night to North Carolina state Sen. Chuck Edwards.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Wednesday that he still wants to help scandal-plagued Rep. Madison Cawthorn after the North Carolina Republican became a lame-duck following his stunning primary loss on Tuesday. 

“I want to help him. He had some issues, but he’s young and so you don’t wish somebody ill,” McCarthy told CNN’s Manu Raju.

McCarthy added that the 26-year-old lawmaker’s career is “not over” and that there’s still a possible future in politics for the North Carolinian who just a few years ago became the youngest Republican lawmaker ever elected to Congress. Less than two years ago, the former rising star was given a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention, a major stage for a first-term lawmaker.

But Cawthorn’s career took a serious blow on Tuesday night. Cawthorn has conceded defeat to State Sen. Chuck Edwards, one of a handful of primary challengers in his race. It didn’t help matters that GOP Sen. Thom Tillis took the rare step of endorsing Edwards, signaling that senior Republicans in the North Carolina delegation had grown tired of Cawthorn.

McCarthy himself previously told reporters that Cawthorn had “lost my trust.” It was the second time in weeks that McCarthy had to admonish Cawthorn, first when the North Carolinian called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a “thug” and later when Cawthorn suggested that Republicans were engaging in illicit drug and orgy parties in Washington.

The situation was only further exacerbated when Cawthorn was cited for bringing a loaded gun on an airplane, the second time that had happened, and received multiple traffic tickets. The final straw was likely a coordinated opposition research campaign that dumped embarrassing videos of Cawthorn online. 

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