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Madison Cawthorn Loses

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Saul Loeb/AP

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Capping off a precipitous and humiliating fall from grace, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, the youngest member of the GOP’s Shitposting Caucus, has conceded the Republican primary for his North Carolina congressional seat to state Sen. Chuck Edwards.

Cry more, lib.

— Madison Cawthorn (@CawthornforNC) November 4, 2020

Cawthorn’s tenure in Congress was as controversial and performative as it was brief. Over the last few months, he has provoked the wrath of the Republican party elite with a series of bizarre statements, including his dubious claim that other lawmakers he admired had invited him to orgies and done cocaine in front of him. He has also found himself embroiled in scandal after scandal: participating in a cryptocurrency scheme, lying or exaggerating about his past, driving with a revoked license, and attempting to bring a loaded gun through airport security—twice.

By the time of his “orgy and cocaine” comment, Cawthorn’s combative and erratic behavior had already alienated him from many North Carolina Republicans. He annoyed them further by unexpectedly announcing that he was going to switch districts, only to then return to his original district after a court ruling gave the new district a Democratic skew. 

All of this led a number of influential Republicans in both North Carolina and DC to back Edwards in what seemed to be a well planned campaign to unseat Cawthorn. Their efforts proved successful Tuesday night, a potential sign that conventional Republicans still have a degree of influence over their base, even at a time when the GOP is dominated by anti-establishment sentiment. 

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