Controversies sink reelection bid of GOP Rep. Cawthorn

BRIAN SLODYSKO
Associated Press
U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., listens to a question from the media as he speaks to supporters at his primary election night watch party in Hendersonville, N.C., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s unexpected 2020 win made him the youngest member of Congress and a rising Republican star. Then the scandals started to pile up.

On Tuesday, the 26-year-old conservative North Carolina firebrand left his election night party early, and a spokesperson told reporters that he was conceding the race to state Sen. Chuck Edwards. The Associated Press has not called the race.

Cawthorn faced a slew of problems as he sought a second term — many of his own creation.

He infuriated fellow Republicans in Congress when he alleged that he was invited to orgies where people snorted cocaine. He was caught twice with guns at airport checkpoints. Then there were the videos that showed Cawthorn in sexually suggestive poses.

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That led the state’s Republican establishment, including North Carolina’s two GOP senators, to mobilize against him.

On Monday, former President Donald Trump urged voters to give him a second chance. But that apparently wasn't enough Tuesday.