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Cawthorn heading to Congress

Madison Cawthorn won a seat in Congress on Tuesday. Madison Cawthorn won a seat in Congress on Tuesday.

Madison Cawthorn, a native of Henderson County with a compelling personal biography, scored a stunning victory to win a seat in Congress and become the youngest member of the body at age 25.


Cawthorn, 25, led Democrat Moe Davis with 54 to 43 percent of the vote after elections boards across the 17-county district reported early and mail-in vote totals and more than half the precincts, amounting to 59 percent of the electorate.

“The days of AOC and the far left misleading the next generation of Americans are numbered," Cawthorn said. "Tonight, the voters of Western North Carolina chose to stand for freedom and a new generation of leadership in Washington.”

A native and lifelong resident of Hendersonville, Cawthorn defeated a Democratic nominee who had a career in military service and the law. Davis’s career as a prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay, administrative law judge and instructor on defense policy with the Congressional Research Service put him four decades years ahead of Cawthorn in work experience, a different he tried to exploit.

“If you’re in need of an electrician or a heart surgeon, you don’t go in and say, ‘Which one of you has no experience? I want you,’” he says. “Why would you do that with a member of Congress, particularly in the time we’re living in right now.”

Voters in the 11th Congressional District waved that off, choosing Cawthorn in what turned out to be a strong night for the Republican Party in Henderson County and many areas of Western North Carolina despite the tight race between President Trump and challenger Joe Biden.

“When I look at Western North Carolina, I don’t see a purple district. I see red, white and blue,” Cawthorn said. “I see a proud, kind, decent and welcoming people who love our founding principles and are determined to make our imperfect union more perfect. I’m humbled and honored to bring these mountain values to Congress.”

Davis thanked his supporters and urged healing of divisions.

"I’m grateful to over 1,000 volunteers who worked tirelessly to help me try to bring better days to Western North Carolina. I’ll be forever grateful for their support," he said. "But the voters have spoken and while I’m disappointed, I respect their decision. We live in a divided America and a divided Western North Carolina. It is now up to those elected to find a way to heal the divisions, seek common ground and work together to reduce poverty, increase access to healthcare and protect our precious environment."

Cawthorn also struck a nonpartisan chord.

'“This isn’t a time to settle scores, but to secure the future," he said. "Rather than tearing each other down, we need to lift each other up. The scope and magnitude of our challenges are too great to tolerate a dysfunctional status quo. The fight ahead isn’t against individuals – our fellow Americans – but destructive ideas that should stay in the ash heap of history." 

Confined to a wheelchair after a horrific car crash at age 18, Cawthorn gained national notoriety after being selected to speak at the Republican National Convention in August where he made it a point to stand to excerpts of the Pledge of Allegiance at the end of his speech.