Rep. Madison Cawthorn is not just an embarrassment to all North Carolinians — he’s an embarrassment of riches for fact-checkers, opinion writers and anyone looking for a test case against the Jan. 6 insurrectionists who are running for re-election this year.
Remember, Cawthorn has ditched his own 11th Congressional District in and around Asheville to run in the neighboring 13th District, which was specifically drawn for former NC House Speaker Tim Moore. In return, according to an unnamed Democrat in the NC Legislature, “The Republicans are going to do everything they can do to fuck with Madison Cawthorn. They hate him more than they hate us.”
And now, an activist group has formally challenged his candidacy in the name of all NC voters because they say — get this — he’s an insurrectionist!
Legally speaking, it checks out. State law allows voters in a district to challenge a candidate’s qualifications, usually matters of residency or age. But Free Speech for the People is pulling the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution into play. It specifically states that no one who “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” may run for or hold office in the federal government.
Now, the state Board of Elections must hold a hearing, the results of which can be appealed to the BOE, the NC Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court.
The long and short of it is that Cawthorn may have to testify under oath about his activities before and during the Jan. 6 insurrection, giving us a look at his text messages and emails about that day.
Of course, there’s always this video of him on Jan. 6. that looks an awful lot like a man in a wheelchair trying to incite a riot. Or the dozens of tweets he has fired off supporting the terrorists who invaded the Capitol that day in the hopes of affecting the outcome of a free and fair election.
Cawthorn is fairly comfortable with lying — he’s lied about his acceptance to the US Naval Academy (he wasn’t), his status as a Paralympic athlete (he’s not) and his successful real estate company (nope).
But he can’t rely on the support of the NC GOP on this one, at least not in the kinds of rooms where it really counts.
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