Cawthorn Loss – A Win For WNC And GRNC-PVF

Yesterday was primary day here in North Carolina. One race in particular grabbed national attention. That was the Republican primary for the 11th Congressional District. This district has been represented this term by Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC11) who is the youngest member of Congress. Cawthorn faced seven challengers in this primary. Multiple stories had been written on this race over the last couple of months by every media organization ranging from Politico to the National Review with the NY Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal in the middle.

Cawthorn was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and the NRA-PVF. As the incumbent, Cawthorn was given the PVF endorsement. Given his issues discussed later, I think this was a mistake.

Meanwhile, his strongest challenger was St. Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson). Edwards was supported by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), NC Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), and NC House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) among others. Edwards was recommended by the Grass Roots North Carolina-Political Victory Fund. GRNC-PVF noted that Edwards had a 100% pro-gun voting record in the NC Senate, holds a FFL, and had helped GRNC pass pro-gun legislation in the General Assembly.

Other challengers included Matthew Burril, a financial advisor; Rod Honeycutt, a retired US Army colonel; Bruce O’Connell, a businessman and owner of the Pisgah Inn; Michelle Woodhouse, former 11th District GOP Chair and businesswoman; Wendy Navarez, a Navy vet and volunteer; and Kristie Sluder, a social worker. All the challengers except Navarez are conservatives. Navarez is a moderate who was being pushed by Moe Davis who was the Democrat that Cawthorn beat in 2020.

The results came in quickly. Edwards held the lead the entire evening and Cawthorn conceded in a call to him a bit after 10pm. Under North Carolina election law, in a multi-candidate primary, the candidate who has 30% or more is the winner without a runoff. If more than one candidate gets about 30%, then it is the candidate with the most votes over 30%. In this case, Edwards won 33.4% of the vote to Cawthorn’s 31.9%. While Cawthorn did better in the smaller, far western counties of the district, Edwards took both Buncombe and Henderson Counties which are the two largest in the district. Henderson, it should be noted, is the home county of both Cawthorn and Edwards.

This primary was as much a referendum on Cawthorn and his performance than anything else. Cawthorn had issues and I’m not talking about political positions. Some could be overlooked and some were just beyond the pale. He had been stopped twice by TSA for trying to board a plane with a firearm. He had been stopped for driving on a suspended license while speeding. Pictures surfaced of him dressed in women’s lingerie and engaging in questionable behavior with his cousin. His marriage ended in divorce after eight months. His unfounded allegations of cocaine parties and orgies on Capitol Hill for which he recanted. The list goes on.

However, what could not be overlooked was his immaturity, his ineffectiveness in Washington, his lack of constituent service, and, most importantly, his willingness to abandon the district for another when he thought it would put him in a larger media market. When the state’s original redistricting plan was overturned by the NC Supreme Court on a partisan vote, Cawthorn announced he would run for re-election in his original district. Meanwhile, a number of candidates including Edwards had already declared they were running in the 11th District when Cawthorn had to return to the 11th. They did not drop out as he may have expected.

When all was said and done, over 68% of the primary voters went for someone other than Cawthorn despite his endorsement by Trump and his advantage of incumbency. I supported Edwards because I think he will get stuff done and he was stronger on the Second Amendment. When you look over the field of candidates, everyone other than Cawthorn had held a real job, had success in their careers, had managed people, and many had been responsible for meeting a payroll.

Cawthorn, despite his age and injuries, could have grown in the job but didn’t. He went for the publicity and fawning accolades as opposed to effectiveness. It was show over substance and that is what caught up with him. He got political success too soon in life and I don’t think he had the intellectual maturity to handle it. I think we all wish him well in life but are relieved that he won’t be in office much longer.

What District Was That Congressman?

I live in the 11th Congressional District of North Carolina. Our current congressman is Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) who is the youngest member of Congress.

Cawthorn is facing a stiff challenge in the Republican primary for a number of reasons. These include a poor voting record, doing dumb shit like trying to take a firearm on an airplane (twice), driving on a suspended license while speeding, lots of embarrassing videos coming to light, and crappy constituent service. Topping this all off is that before the Democrat-controlled NC Supreme Court threw out the General Assembly’s redistricting plan, Cawthorn had planned to ditch the 11th District for a new, more heavily Republican district, closer to Charlotte. The rationale was that he would gain more media attention from the Charlotte media than he could from the local Asheville media outlets.

I got an email today from Cawthorn trying to raise money. Here is how it concluded:

I’ll be traveling across my district here in North Carolina and hope to have your support as I make this critical push to stay in the race!
Madison Cawthorn
Congressman, NC-14

I don’t know about you but I prefer a congressional representative who remembers what district he or she actually represents.

As an aside, Cawthorn still got the NRA-PVF endorsement given their pro-incumbent bias. Grass Roots North Carolina-PVF however has recommended St. Sen. Chuck Edwards (R-Henderson) who not only has helped pro-gun legislation in Raleigh but actually holds a FFL.

What Moe Davis Really Thinks Of You

Moe Davis – excuse me – Col. Morris Davis USAF (Ret) – is the Democrat nominee for the 11th Congressional District of North Carolina. The race between Davis and Madison Cawthorn (R) is to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) when he left to become President Trump’s Chief of Staff.

Davis’ claim to fame is that he resigned as chief prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay rather than use some evidence obtained by water boarding. Davis said this was torture. He was overruled by superiors, resigned as the prosecutor, and retired soon thereafter. He may have been right, he may have been wrong.

After bouncing around a number of legal positions, mostly governmental, post-retirement, he decided to run for Congress from North Carolina. This brings me to a tweet he made in 2019 that was pointed out to me this morning.

Now anyone who has read my blog for any bit of time knows I think Wayne LaPierre needs to go. The suits, the plane travel, and most of all the money spent on William Brewer III has hurt the NRA and its mission. He needs to take a lot of his cronies with him.

However, I do not think people who have donated to the NRA or bought memberships are idiots. Moreover, it is not a “terrorist organization” and to call it that is the height of demagoguery. That Moe Davis was the Chief Prosecutor at Guantanamo whose job it was to prosecute actual terrorists only compounds it.

It might interest Davis to know that Justice Steven David of the Indiana Supreme Court was one of the speakers in 2019 at the NRA’s National Firearms Law Seminar. Prior to being appointed to the Indiana Supreme Court, David had been Chief Defense Counsel at Guantanamo Bay concurrent with Davis’ time there. Indeed, Davis, after resigning as prosecutor, served as a witness for the defense led by Justice David in a case.

Like I said, Davis is engaging in hypocritical demagoguery. I am sure the voters of the 11th District, especially those outside the city limits of Asheville, might disagree with his assessment that the NRA is a “terrorist organization”. If I were Madison Cawthorn and his team I’d be putting this out on ads everywhere.

An Attack On The Freedom Caucus?

Thanks to court-ordered redistricting, I will now be back in the 11th Congressional District of North Carolina starting with this election. I was looking forward to having Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC-11) as my congressman again. Unfortunately, he decided to retire and that set off a free-for-all, both Republican and Democrat, to succeed him.

We have been inundated with mailers, TV ads, and robocalls. You can’t drive past any corner without seeing a number of yard signs. The common theme in all the ads for the Republicans is that they are rock ribbed conservatives who are pro-gun and need to be sent to DC to fight for President Trump and his agenda.

The majority of the TV ads are for Republicans Chuck Archerd, Jim Davis, Dan Driscoll, and Lynda Bennett. It seems negative ads and mailers have been aimed specifically at Lynda Bennett accusing her of being a “never Trumper”.

I should note at this time that Bennett was endorsed by both Rep. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan of the Freedom Caucus. Meadows has been doing TV ads for Bennett as well. She was also recommended by Grass Roots North Carolina thanks to her perfect 100 on the GRNC survey, endorsement by Meadows, and connections to other pro-gun conservatives in the district.

When I started hearing some of the anti-Bennett ads, I started to pay attention to who sponsored them. They were coming from a super-PAC called Fix Congress Now. They accused her of being “a Never Trumper” which I found odd given her endorsement by Meadows. At the same time, this same group has been funding pro-Dan Driscoll ads.

The GRNC-PVF alert below lays out this in more detail. In full disclosure, I helped do much of the research for that alert.

First off, we have a group that claims to be ‘non partisan’ but is pushing more leftist pablum than Bernie Sanders ordering a nonfat latte. Stuff like open primaries, vote by mail, and “unity” candidates. You know those candidates who would sell out your Second Amendment rights in a heartbeat.

Seems like they wanted to besmirch liberty advocate Lynda Bennett in the primary for the 11th District with the proven false ‘NeverTrumper’ smear. The mailing against Bennett was from ‘Fix Congress Now’ connected to Jeffrey Carson of ‘Unite America’ from Colorado, of all places, so much for the hometown touch. They even share the same suite of offices in Denver.

Federal Election Commission records show that Fix Congress Now has gotten 100% of their funding from Colorado-based Unite America. Moreover, Fix Congress Now has spent a combined $424,000 as of this week to either oppose Lynda Bennett or to support Dan Driscoll.

Unite America has Everytown-endorsed former Congressman Carlos Curbelo of Florida and “independent” Greg Orman of Kansas as advisors. Orman, running on an anti-constitutional carry platform, sabotaged pro-gun Kris Kobach in the race for governor of Kansas allowing an anti-gun Democrat to win that red state.

Just Wednesday, Dan Driscoll even received a $5,600 maximum contribution directly from Unite America.

You have to ask yourself why would, Fix Congress Now and Unite America spend so much money to defeat a candidate endorsed by Congressman Mark Meadows. And why would they support a guy who only moved to the 11th District in the last month or so? Did they see in Driscoll a RINO who would say anything to get elected and who would support their leftist agenda?

Lynda Bennett has promised to replace Mark Meadows in the Freedom Caucus.

We should note that the only reason centrist Republicans in Colorado would spend $277,000 against a member of their own party would be to break up the Freedom Caucus by electing a more controllable Moderate, specifically Dan Driscoll.  

A quick search of the Federal Election Commission’s website shows that the only other candidate being opposed by Fix Congress Now is former California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly who is running for Congress in the 8th Congressional District of California. Donnelly, like Bennett, has been endorsed by the House Freedom Fund as well as Sen. Rand Paul.

Given super PAC Fix Congress Now has received 100% of their funding from Unite America, it is interesting to see what is their agenda. They list their goals as:

  • Independent Redistricting
  • Open Primaries
  • Ranked Choice Voting
  • Vote By Mail
  • “Unity” Candidates

This list of goals is not something any conservative candidate would support. Independent redistricting has been shown to favor Democrats as been shown by the California experience. Open primaries allow one side or the other to nominate the weakest candidate for the preferred candidate to face. Ranked choice voting is why Maine has two Democrats in Congress instead of a Democrat and a Republican. Vote by mail is just asking for fraud. Finally, unity candidates are rarely, if ever, pro-2A when push comes to shove.

Coming back to the race in the 11th District, I find it the height of hypocrisy for Fix Congress Now/Unite America to castigate Bennett as anti-Trump and then push their preferred candidate Dan Driscoll as being pro-Trump. While Driscoll might actually be pro-Trump, that would tend to go against everything Fix Congress Now/Unite America has stood for since their founding.

Tuesday we will find out if people in North Carolina and California were swayed by their fallacious advertising. I hope now. I wasn’t.