Youth is served in runoff

  • Madison Cawthorn
    Madison Cawthorn

    Murphy – After winning the Republican Party nomination for the 11th Congressional District seat, Madison Cawthorn is positioned to become the youngest congressman in modern history.
    To do so, he must defeat Democratic Party candidate Moe Davis, Green Party candidate Tamara Zwinak and Libertarian Party candidate Tracey DeBruhl in the Tuesday, Nov. 3, general election. However, Republicans are expected to hold onto the seat vacated in March by Mark Meadows, who resigned to become chief of staff to President Donald Trump.
    Cawthorn, 24, defeated Lynda Bennett of Highlands in the June 23 runoff election with 30,452 votes, 65.83 percent of the ballots cast. His birthday is in August, at which time he’ll reach the legal age of 25 to serve as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
    While Bennett was endorsed by Meadows and Trump in the runoff election, Cawthorn rode the support of several law enforcement officers throughout the state, four other primary candidates who sought the 11th Congressional District seat in the March election, and numerous county commissioners. He spoke with the president shortly after his victory and plans to visit the White House in the coming weeks.
    “It was a fun conversation,” Cawthorn said about Trump. “He wants to meet my fiancee, my parents, my brother, everybody that’s big in my life. He said, ‘I want you to bring your whole family. Bring everybody. I’d love to meet them.’ It’s going to be a fun trip.”
    Cawthorn, who served as a staffer with Meadows for a little more than a year and was also nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy by Meadows in 2014, called his endorsement of Bennett “water under the bridge.” He said Meadows congratulated him during a brief conversation, saying, “I know you’ll make a great congressman.”
    With four months left until the general election, Cawthorn will focus on fundraising and continuing to refine his objectives, as mandated by his constituents.
    “I want to make it very clear that I represent this district,” Cawthorn said. “I’ve been receiving a significant amount of national attention, and I enjoy doing those interviews, but I always want to be accessible most to my district.”
    He plans to continue traveling throughout the 11th District over the next few months to speak with residents and understand what they need most.
    “Politicians seem to go out west when they need the vote, but as soon as they get the vote, they forget about them until the next election. I don’t want that to be me,” Cawthorn said. “I want to prove to everyone that I will be accessible to them even when I don’t need the vote. As I start making more plans about what to achieve for the district, I want to run it by the people that it’s going to actually affect.”
    Since Meadows vacated his seat before completing the term, Gov. Roy Cooper has the power to call a special election to fill that vacancy. While some believe it’s unlikely that he will do so before November due to COVID-19 and the costs of holding elections, Cooper could call for a special election to be held concurrent to the regularly scheduled general election.
    While it’s an unlikely scenario in this case, the candidates in such a special election would be the same candidates on the ballot for that seat in the general election. The winner of the special election would take the oath of office the day following the election and would hold the seat until January, when the winner of the regular contest would step in, assuming the winners are different people.
    If Cooper does not call a special election at all, the seat would remain vacant until Jan. 3, when the winner of the general election becomes the representative.