NC Rep. Cawthorn Returns to Running in the Far-Mountain District | New Policies

By GARY D. ROBERTSON, Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn refiled nomination papers Monday and will now run for re-election in a district that largely follows the boundaries of the Far Mountain District that the first-term Republican currently represents.

Cawthorn, 26, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus party, voted against certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory and made false allegations of voter fraud. He also spoke at the January 6, 2021 rally that preceded the insurrection at the United States Capitol — an act that some critics say should disqualify him from running for Congress again.

In December, Cawthorn had filed for a more easterly open seat that had been created by the state legislature in November for the once-a-decade redistricting process. It was considered a more pro-GOP district than the district covering where he lives in Henderson County.

But after the state’s redistricting map was rearranged twice due to litigation, this district that stretched from part of Charlotte west to the foothills all but disappeared. Representing that region could have forced him to run against GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry.

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The last 11th district he will run in, however, leans Republican and contains all or part of 15 of the 17 far western counties that were in the 11th district he was elected from in 2020.

“The people of western North Carolina want a fighter in Congress. With their support, I look forward to returning to Washington as the second member and helping to enact major change with a Republican majority. historic,” Cawthorn said in a press release. He filed his nomination papers, which included his withdrawal from the previous district race, with the State Board of Elections on Monday afternoon. Cawthorn had until Tuesday to remove.

Cawthorn, a close supporter of former President Donald Trump, had filed in December to run in a 13th District that contained all or part of three counties he currently represents. At the time, the Far West District was expected to be more politically competitive.

The state Supreme Court struck down those lines and the entire Congressional map in early February, saying they were illegal partisan gerrymanders. The GOP-controlled General Assembly passed a new map on Feb. 17, but a three-judge panel reworked it last week, saying it fell short of fairness standards mentioned by the justices of the State.

The filing of applications for the card retained by the judges on the merits resumed on Thursday. The next day, Republican legislative leaders petitioned the United States Supreme Court to block use of the court-adopted map. The case is pending.

Cawthorn will face challengers in the May 17 Republican primary, including state Sen. Chuck Edwards of Henderson County, who previously ran in the far western district of the state. Edwards said he filed a new application Monday for the 11th District.

In what appears to be a stab at Cawthorn, Edwards tweeted, “Welcome all applicants – old and new – to the NC-11 race. I remain steadfast in my unwavering commitment to this district. I would never put the people of Charlotte above the people of (western North Carolina).”

The court-mandated redistricting adjustments have also derailed, for now, an effort by some voters to challenge Cawthorn’s candidacy qualifications on the basis of the U.S. Constitution. About a dozen voters in the planned 13th District have filed challenge applications, but the State Board of Elections said last week those challenges would not go forward now that the 13th District had moved 200 miles (320 kilometers) to the east.

Voters argued that Cawthorn was disqualified from running because he failed to comply with part of a post-Civil War amendment to the Constitution regarding insurgencies due to his involvement in the rally that preceded the US Capitol riot.

Speaking at the “Save America Rally” days after being sworn in to Congress, Cawthorn said “the crowd is fighting back.”

“Democrats, with all the fraud they’ve done in this election, Republicans hiding and not fighting, they’re trying to silence your voice,” he added. “Make no mistake, they don’t want you to be heard.”

Cawthorn said that part of the 14th Amendment did not apply to him, and that he “never engaged in or would engage in any insurrection against the United States.”

A group helping voters with their lawsuit said last week that new candidate challenges would be filed in the district selected by Cawthorn. A federal lawsuit filed by Cawthorn seeking to have the entire candidate challenge process struck down as unconstitutional is pending. A hearing is scheduled for March 21.

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