Featured photo: On the campaign trail, 6th Congressional District candidate Addison McDowell speaks to a crowd of Trump supporters at WillStella Farm in Kernersville. (photo by Carolyn deBerry)

On Thursday morning, about 50 Trump supporters gathered in Kernersville to hear from Trump’s latest endorsement for the 6th Congressional District in North Carolina. Despite his relative youth and lack of political experience, 30-year-old Davidson County native Addison McDowell has garnered the former president’s endorsement. In a series of political stump speeches throughout the district, he made a stop at WillStella Farm with Donald Trump Jr. ahead of the March 5 primary. 

According to McDowell’s website, he “learned conservative North Carolina values from an early age.” He attended UNC-Charlotte and worked for US Sen. Ted Budd, who has also been endorsed this cycle by Trump Sr. McDowell has also earned the endorsement of Budd, and he was a lobbyist for Blue Cross Blue Shield until resigning in 2023. 

Rhett and Ricky Lewis read a book about former president Donald Trump while they waited for the event to start. (photo by Carolyn deBerry)

What are Trump-aligned Republicans pushing this election cycle?

The event, which started 15 minutes late, consisted of brief comments by McDowell and Trump Jr., whom McDowell told the crowd is “more like us than the people in Manhattan,” before people started lining up for photo opportunities. One family asked Trump Jr. to sign their bible; Kernersville local Heather Lewis said that her sons Rhett and Ricky begged to go to school late so they could attend the event.

Donald Trump Jr. signs a family’s bible. (photo by Carolyn deBerry)

During the event, McDowell addressed the crowd for one minute before passing the microphone to Trump Jr., who talked for six minutes.

Voter Marilyn Frederick Stanley has been voting for Trump since 2016 because “he’s not a career politician.” And she feels that McDowell espouses those same qualities. 

“Today he really impressed me.” Everybody she knows is voting for McDowell, she said, and so is she.

“I think a big part of what’s missing in our government and our officials these days is actually understanding the people they’re sent to Washington, DC to represent,” Trump Jr. said, claiming that people who go to DC “become DC,” and don’t remain “Davidson County or Forsyth County.” 

They “assimilate to the swamp,” Trump Jr. said.

But apparently, he sees something different in McDowell.

Trump Jr. said that he’s known McDowell for a “long time,” and that they go to “hunting camp together.”

“When you know the character of a man, you understand his motivations for doing this,” he said.

But what makes McDowell feel ready to take on this role in the nation’s capital compared to others with more experience and years behind them?

After the event, TCB asked McDowell, who answered with Trump Jr. by his side.

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump Jr. promotes 6th Congressional District candidate Addison McDowell to a crowd of Trump supporters at WillStella Farm in Kernersville. (photo by Carolyn deBerry)

“I’ve went through some things in my life,” McDowell said, who added that the loss of his brother from an overdose has aged him a bit.

“What I know is that we’ve got a bunch of career politicians and RINOs that we need to stop, the left and Joe Biden, and that’s what we’re gonna do.”

Trump is facing multiple criminal charges and was recently found liable for the sexual abuse and defamation of author E. Jean Carroll. But McDowell isn’t concerned with how his endorsement from the tarnished former president reflects on his campaign.

“All I know is that President Trump is a fighter and he was a great president and I’m proud to have his endorsement, and I’m the only candidate in this race with his endorsement.”

Supporters wait for Trump-endorsed Addison McDowell’s campaign trail event to begin (photo by Carolyn deBerry)


McDowell said his delayed arrival was due to a pit stop at a gun store, and that the people there were “fired up because they know what Joe Biden and the Democrats are trying to do to our freedom and what we love so much. And I can tell you this: Not gonna happen.” 

For every 100,000 residents in NC, 17 were killed by firearms in 2023, and today children in the US are more likely to die from gun violence than other fatal causes such as car crashes, drug overdoses and cancer.


McDowell’s other talking point was his focus on “securing” the southern border. The “America First Agenda” is the “key to prosperity,” McDowell said. He lost his younger brother to fentanyl poisoning in 2016, and blames his death on fentanyl that was “manufactured in China and smuggled up through our southern border.”

“To me, closing the border is personal,” McDowell said, promising to “take care of that” and saying that it’s his “No. 1 priority.”

McDowell also believes that his firm stance is why Trump endorsed his campaign.

“He knows that I’m a fighter and that I’m somebody that’s going to have his back. President Trump needs allies in Congress and that’s exactly what he’s gonna get with me.”

And when Trump “gets back in office, he’s gonna need people to have his back,” he said.

Trump Jr. said that “countless Americans” have been killed by “our open borders.”

“We could end this today, the fentanyl thing, with the border,” he added.

Donald Trump Jr. and Addison McDowell enter a campaign trail event on Thursday. (photo by Carolyn deBerry)

Fentanyl and the chemicals used to create it are largely trafficked from China and through Mexico, but the drug is coming through Canada as well. Last year, the Biden administration took action and announced a series of indictments and sanctions against Chinese companies and executives considered responsible for importing the chemicals. Biden’s budget this year included $305 million for “non-intrusive inspection systems, with a primary focus on fentanyl detection at ports of entry.” Also, according to the US Sentencing Commission, 88 percent of fentanyl traffickers in 2022 were US citizens.

Trump Jr. also claimed that once the Democrats started “losing all the other demographics they’ve been very dependent on for a long time because those people have woken up to what’s going on,” they began to “import people who will be permanent dependents,” adding that they’re accommodating “people who have never paid into a system, who likely never will, but will reliably vote Democrat.” Undocumented immigrants aren’t legally permitted to receive Social Security benefits, though they often pay into the system, and they are legally required to pay taxes.

Closing the border and concerns over fentanyl are “top priorities” for voters like Stanley.


In an interview with TCB, McDowell said that he is “100 percent pro-life” — no exceptions. What informs his decision? His “faith in Jesus Christ and the bible.”

Also, after Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022, abortion rates rose slightly overall, and abortion rates generally trend lower under Democrat presidents.

A coat hanger is used to prop up North Carolina’s flag. (photo by Carolyn deBerry)


Trump Jr. complained about inflation.

“I’m the son of a billionaire from Manhattan; if I go to the grocery store and I’m pissed off… I’m not supposed to notice that, but if I do, what’s it doing to hardworking families around the country who are struggling to make $50-60,000 a year?”

In an interview with TCB, McDowell blamed Biden once again, saying that the president has “ruined what was a great economy under President Trump.” 

But the numbers show otherwise. Employers have created more than 14 million jobs during the Biden administration and 400,000 positions on average per month. During Trump’s first three years in office, that looked like 176,000 jobs a month — before millions of layoffs after the arrival of COVID-19, which Trump downplayed for months while thousands of Americans succumbed to the virus.

Trump supporters line up for a photo-op with Addison McDowell and Donald Trump Jr. (photo by Carolyn deBerry)

Who else is running for the 6th District?

The newly redrawn Congressional district map heavily favors Republicans by design after members of the GOP redrew maps last year and crammed Democratic voters into three districts while effectively diluting Black residents — who vote blue historically — in districts with white majorities. Republicans are pretty much guaranteed 10 out of NC’s 14 seats in Congress even though 2.2 million of the state’s 7.46 million registered voters are Republicans and 2.4 million are Democrats. Further, in 2020, 49.9 percent of votes went to Donald Trump while 48.6 percent went to President Joe Biden.

Incumbent Democrat Rep. Kathy Manning, who has represented the 6th Congressional District since 2021, isn’t seeking re-election, and no one is running in the Democratic primary, which leaves Republicans a guaranteed seat in District 6 — and six of them are vying for it: Christian Castelli, Mary Ann Contogiannis and former congressman Mark Walker, along with former High Point mayor Jay Wagner, second-time candidate Bo Hines and newcomer McDowell. 

Of McDowell’s opponents, former 6th District representative Mark Walker is likely the most well known. Walker, who held the seat from 2015-21, has released campaign flyers wherein he claims to have the endorsement of Congressman Matt Gaetz.

During the event, Trump Jr. made a point to disparage the former representative, claiming that he lied about being endorsed by Gaetz. He said that he called Gaetz who said that was not “remotely true” and that he was in fact endorsing McDowell. McDowell’s campaign manager Chase Gaines also made a point to pull TCB aside and complain about the fliers, saying that politicians like Walker need to be kept “honest.”

Another candidate who appears to have fallen out of former President Donald Trump’s favor is Hines, who ran for the seat in 2022 after being endorsed by Trump. In a dramatic twist in December, Trump’s Midas touch landed on McDowell. 

McDowell’s campaign has received $108,599 in contributions, and as of December 2023, he’s got $101,748 in cash on hand. In comparison, Hines’ campaign has raised $379,812, but ended with $97,974 in cash on hand.

Primary Election Day is March 5 and our election guide is here to help you learn more about each candidate, — from the presidential race to Winston-Salem City Council. Copies of our guide hit the Triad’s streets today, find yours here.

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