Cawthorn's rocky reelection bid gets final boost from Trump who says 'give Madison a second chance!'

Republican establishment appears to have lost faith in 26-year-old lawmaker and wants to replace him

Updated: May 17, 2022 - 10:01am

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Former President Trump on the eve of North Carolina GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn's reelection contest Tuesday gave an eleventh-hour endorsement to the embattled freshman congressman, saying, "Let's give Madison a second chance!" 

Trump in his posted Monday on his Truth Social account also acknowledged the missteps of the 26-year-old lawmaker, saying he's made "foolish mistakes, which I don't believe he'll make again."

To be sure, questionable actions and comments from the ultra-conservative Cawthorn have dominated news headlines in the weeks ahead of election day, amid speculation that more establishment Republicans are feeding reporters scoops to oust him. 

North Carolina GOP Sen. Thom Tillis has endorsed Cawthorn challenger state Sen. Chuck Edward.

In the eight-candidate primary, Cawthorn needs just over 30% of the vote to avoid a runoff.

Among the actions and comments that have hurt Cawthorn's bid for a second term representing his western North Carolina congressional district are those he recently made in a podcast, in which he alleged that prominent D.C. lawmakers have invited him to orgies and have done cocaine in front of him.

The comments resulted in a scolding from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the chamber's top Republican.

Cawthorn also has been cited for multiple driving violations, in addition to attempting to carry a weapon through airport security.

In addition, a number of explicit pictures and videos of the congressman have been circulated, which he has said are part of a "coordinated drip campaign" by "establishment" Republicans in a bid to unseat him. 

In winning his first election, in 2020, Cawthorn became the youngest member of Congress. He ran on an America First platform coupled with a story of tenacity following his recovery from a car crash at age 18 that left his partially paralyzed.

Cawthorn's reelection campaign has over $3.6 million.