Is Madison Cawthorn getting hung out to dry?

by | Feb 9, 2022 | Editor's Blog | 4 comments

As far as I can tell, Madison Cawthorn has no redeeming qualities. He’s a grifter who will say anything for attention. He’s an anti-intellectual who appeals to the basest instincts of ignorant people. He’s been credibly accused of inappropriate sexual behavior. He lies about his background. He’s sided with the insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol on January 6. In some circles, he’s a rising star in the GOP, but apparently not so much in North Carolina.

Cawthorn’s candidacy is being challenged by a group of voters that claims his support for the insurrection makes him ineligible to serve in Congress. They say, according to an NPR article, he “violated U.S. Constitution. Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War to prevent Confederates from holding public office, states that no one can hold office if they had taken an oath to support the Constitution and then ‘engaged in insurrection.’” In other words, Cawthorn is not loyal to the United States and, therefore, unfit to be a Member of Congress. Makes sense to me. 

Cawthorn is suing to have the complaint dismissed. He claims that the State Board of Elections does not have the right to declare him ineligible as a candidate. His lawyer also suggested that he would invoke the Amnesty Act of 1872 which returned full citizenship to most former Confederates and allowed them to hold public office. However, as Duke professor Mac McCorkle noted, invoking the Amnesty Act “would seem to admit that he was involved in an insurrection” 

This week, the State Board of Elections weighed in, declaring they have the right to examine Cawthorn’s candidacy and possibly reject it. If they proceed with the inquiry, Cawthorn might have to testify under oath about his role in the attack on the Capitol. That testimony could then be used by the Congressional Committee investigating the events of January 6. 

Cawthorn may find himself in serious hot water. On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the attack on the Capitol an “insurrection.” That contradicts Cawthorn’s depiction of the events of January 6. In addition, Republican leaders in North Carolina and Washington are suspiciously quiet about the challenge to Cawthorn’s candidacy. No prominent North Carolina Republicans are coming to his defense.

When Republicans first drew the Congressional Districts, House Speaker Tim Moore was expected to run for a seat that included his home of Cleveland County. Cawthorn, though, switched districts and announce he would be running in that district instead of the newly drawn 14th CD which includes his home in Henderson County. Moore announced he wouldn’t run, ostensibly because Republican primary voters would have supported Cawthorn.

Now, Moore may have his revenge. None of the state’s leading Republicans are contesting or complaining about the lawsuit. In addition, Moore could make Cawthorn’s life even more difficult if the legislature re-draws the districts that were struck down last week. Cawthorn could find himself looking for another district.

Cawthorn is difficult person for intelligent people to like, regardless of political persuasion. His naked ambition runs over precedent and seniority. He lies like Donald Trump. He wears his ignorance like a badge of honor. And he will say whatever he believes gets him the most applause. Now, he may find himself in a lonely fight to defend his candidacy.


  1. Keith Thomson

    It seems that Mr. Hurley, who is running as a self-styled “constitutional sheriff,” … believes that a local sheriff has more authority than the courts and even the president in interpreting the Constitution. In practice, it means law enforcement refusing to enforce state health mandates, justifying illegal detainment and subverting federal guidelines in an effort to flex its own authoritarian power.

    He must be upset with “journalists” who quote his words. We the voters would be embarassed if his stealth campaign actually won.

  2. ThisBeagleHunts

    As politics as it’s played in Washington, DC more and more resembles “House of Cards,” it’s not a stretch to think McConnell’s use of the word insurrection was not coincidental. The stakes could not be higher and Trump’s star could soon be dimmed by prison walls, so whoever stands firm in the GOP could win big. Liz Cheney plays chess and the long game as good as the best of them (and daddy is the Grand Master). Nothing at this level by these pols is happenstance. Dick Cheney’s appearance beside his daughter at the Capitol this past January 6 was right out of Shakespeare. Isn’t it ironic that McCarthy is a Scottish name. The Scots didn’t fare so well by The Bard’s hand.

  3. cocodog

    Let us be fair, the socially redeeming quality test became one of the Warren Court’s tests for pornographic displays.Cawthorn is not a film or is he considered a work of art. Why not call him an ineffective politician, or the Juvenal version of the infamous version of Louis Buller Gohmert Jr.

  4. David Hurley

    Thomas. I liked the article except for the parts with personal opinion. If you are writing an op ed piece, sure… but if I may be honest, this is the exact reason I dislike Cawthorn. He says all the buzz words to get applause (like you said). He digs himself deeper into the the Republican base while throwing the dirt on the Democrats, thus making them hate him more. He is a divider of Americans.

    I am tired of biased and opinion driven “journalism”.

    It would be nice to read articles that weren’t peppered with journalists opinions and jabs, that is unless that is the whole point of the article and publication in the first place. In that case, call your site liberal politics North Carolina. So we know what we are getting into.

    I’ve had plenty of hit pieces written about me. They are a bit like the fish story we used to do as a kid. I sit down with a journalist, he writes a biased article even though I’m the most middle of the road candidate on earth, then another picks it up and adds their flair and still uses my quotes as if they interviewed me. Then someone else picks up that article and so on. I always invite those new journalists to get to know me, but alas.. I never get a response. I guess truth isn’t as fun.

    At any rate, I liked the article. I’ll keep checking back in for more. I’m always up for an interview as well if you have the capacity to write an honest, fact and quote driven article.

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