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Cawthorn 'not the reason I'm running,' Gash says

Eric Gash speaks at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event. [Lightning file photo] Eric Gash speaks at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event. [Lightning file photo]

Democratic Congressional candidate Eric Gash responded to U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s exit from his current district to a more Republican-leaning one, saying he is focused on representing the region he has always called home and where he serves an elementary school principal, pastor and coach.

“Madison Cawthorn is not the reason I’m running for Congress; the voters are. Western North Carolina has been thought of as a comfortable seat for ambitious politicians to launch their careers for years, and it’s come at the expense of honest, committed representation for those of us living here. Our teachers, our farmers, our shift workers, gig workers - all of us - have felt the squeeze from politicians who put their own needs over ours. That’s not what public service should be.

If Cawthorn feels like he needs to retreat east - into a more gerrymandered district - in order to cling to power, that’s his choice. But I’m from here. I’m a 5th generation son of this soil, and I can tell you when I talk about “mountain values”, that means fighting for what’s right and not retreating when the going gets tough. We don’t just take our ball and go home. That’s what living in WNC has instilled in me.

Of course I’ll continue to run here. My platform hasn’t changed: Education, Economy, and Environment. Those are my Big Three keys to tackling everything from healthcare to housing. We have to start delivering there, and if Cawthorn has taught us anything, it’s that fighting and yelling doesn’t accomplish anything. We need someone who can reach across the aisle and put the interests of the district first. Simple as that.”

North Carolina’s new 14th Congressional district (formerly NC-11) represents the largest leftward shift of any district in the state, moving from an R+14 to an R+7 rating on the Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI).