Okay, Maybe I Was Wrong About Madison Cawthorn

AP Photo/Chris Seward

Earlier, I predicted that Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) would be fine despite all of the so-called “scandals” that have cropped up, ever since he publicly discussed some of the more unseemly elements of being a part of the Washington D.C. intelligentsia. I argued that despite the lawmaker’s foibles, he would likely retain his seat in the upcoming primary elections.

Even though I still believe Cawthorn will survive, I may have cause to eat my words next week.

It seems that things just keep getting worse for the lawmaker. Story after story has emerged over the past couple months that do not exactly cast him in a good light. While some of the criticisms he has received are quite absurd, some of the issues that have surfaced are quite bizarre.

In my previous piece, I discussed footage of the representative with his cousin in a car making homoerotic jokes. I also covered the two occasions on which he was fined for attempting to board a plane while carrying a loaded firearm. There was also the allegations that he violated House rules by giving his cousin significant sums of money.

The latest development was a video that emerged on social media earlier this month. The footage allegedly shows a naked Cawthorn engaging in horseplay in a bed with another man.

So far, all of these incidents don’t quite add up to being scandals – but they sure are embarrassing for the young lawmaker, whose charisma catapulted him into Congress two years ago. But now, it appears at least some of his constituents are turning on him. Indeed, people who worked on his original campaign seem to have soured on Cawthorn, indicating that he does not care about the concerns of the people in his district.

Bruce Rose, who volunteered for the representative’s campaign for four months, told Business Insider that the representative “fooled the hell out of everybody.” He continued: “I despise him … he is a criminal and a performer.”

Rose, who is one of five former volunteers who spoke with Business Insider, also said, “[h]e changed. If you tout the law, you have to stand for the law, and he doesn’t.”

April Holsinger, another former volunteer, took issue with Cawthorn bringing a gun through airport security in his luggage. “It’s very irresponsible,” she said. “You should know if you have a gun in your bag or not.”

Greg Wiggins liked the lawmaker when he first met him two years ago, saying he was an “energetic young man” and “a great speaker.” But now, he has become disillusioned with the representative.

“He’s more interested in hobnobbing with people in Washington than hobnobbing with a farmer over here, or someone that’s a plumber, or someone that needs their help like a veteran,” he complained. “It became all about Madison and not about district 11.”

Other former volunteers were not happy when Cawthorn declared he would run for Congress in a neighboring district after it was redrawn. However, after the North Carolina Supreme Court struck down the new district, he walked back his announcement.

“It seems like he’s forgotten where he comes from and who got him there,” said Debbie Brogden, another volunteer. “We worked so hard to get him there and wanted him in our district … I just thought it was unfair to us.”

As can be expected, Cawthorn’s camp is dismissing complaints from former volunteers. Luke Ball, spokesman for the representative, told Business Insider that they “understand a small handful of former volunteers are backing other candidates in the GOP primary, and that they are hoping to tout their candidates to the media.”

In a statement, Ball said: “That is their prerogative, and we look forward to uniting the NC-11 GOP behind Congressman Cawthorn following a decisive victory on May 17.”

Ball might be right. Perhaps it is only a “handful” of folks who have changed their minds about the lawmaker. But with all that has come out about him, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that he could have lost a significant level of support. He might not be guilty of criminal activity – but he has certainly become an embarrassment.

I did indicate in my last article that Cawthorn would be safe unless another shoe dropped. North Carolina’s primary will happen on the 17th. There is still plenty of time for more embarrassing material about the lawmaker to be released. But if his constituents feel that he is more dedicated to becoming a political celebrity than seeing to the needs of his district, they may have already seen enough to support his opponents. Still, I still say it is unlikely to happen. But who knows? I just might be helping myself to a steaming plate of crow on Wednesday.



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