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CawthWatch: Outside groups spent big to oust freshman

Madison Cawthorn can add one more startling statistic to his unconventional one-term performance as a member of Congress. A stunning amount of outside campaign money, $1.88 million, was used to oust him.

Outside groups unaffiliated with any of Cawthorn's seven rivals in the Republican primary spent $1,577,324 to oppose the 26-year Hendersonville native while outside cash to boost state Sen. Chuck Edwards totaled $311,049, according to campaign finance data reported by Edwards defeated Cawthorn with 33.4 to 31.9 percent of the vote on May 17 to win the Republican nomination for the seat.

Among the groups that spent prodigiously to oust the Trump-endorsed freshman was a PAC affiliated with U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, who bailed on Cawthorn after a series of self-inflicted wounds, declaring that he “has fallen well short of the most basic standards Western North Carolina expects from their representatives.” Also working against Cawthorn was the Democratic Party-aligned American Muckrakers PAC, known as

Campaign finance reports covering fundraising and spending through April 27 showed that Edwards raised $803,061, spent $611,460 and had $191,601 in cash at the end of April. Cawthorn raised $3.54 million since 2020 but limped into the primary with just $137,599 in the bank, having spent $3.5 million while in office, much of that before this calendar year.

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, the Democratic nominee, raised $1.5 million, spent $1.25 million and had $151,538 in cash on April 27.