duck and cover

North Carolina Republicans declare war on Madison Cawthorn’s “ambitious cowardice”

A new report has revealed widening divides within North Carolina’s Republican Party over Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s plan to change districts.

Cawthorn, already a divisive figure within congress, revealed his plan to move from North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District to seek reelection in the state’s adjacent 13th District last month. In his announcement on Twitter, Cawthorn added that the change would prevent a “go-along-to-get-along Republican” from winning the seat. The announcement also prompted Tim Moore, the longest-serving speaker in the history of the North Carolina House, to drop out of the race.

Cawthorn’s plans have not, however, won the approval of the North Carolina GOP. A new report by the Citizen-Times details internal rage at Cawthorn’s announcement, as party leaders fear his run could actually cost the party a valuable seat.

“This isn’t a noble effort. This is ambitious cowardice at its worst,” Charles Jeter Jr., an influential former Republican state representative, said of Cawthorn’s run. “He’s an embarrassment that we need to defeat.”

Other Republicans attacked Cawthorn’s allegiance to Donald Trump over party unity, and his increasing extremism.

“We are in this divide of us-versus-them in the party,” Catawba College professor and political commentator Michael Bitzer told the Citizen-Times in an interview. “And you cannot pursue the middle ground because there is no middle ground in the Republican Party.”

“What Cawthorn and others are attempting to do is to put a target on the back of anyone who isn’t a follower of Trumpism,” added Bitzer. “And not only on your back; you’ve got a target on your front side.”

Related: Another one of Madison Cawthorn’s dumb tweets just blew up in his face

CEO and president of the John Locke Foundation John Hood derided Cawthorn’s plan over his lack of legislative achievements.

“Madison Cawthorn is a callow and appallingly ignorant young man who regularly embarrasses conservatives and Republicans, whether they admit it or not,” Hood said.

“What conservative policy has Cawthorn ever delivered for his district? He’s barely even a lawmaker,” GOP legislative attorney Brent Woodcox echoed. “He just plays one on TV.”

Cawthorn’s announcement to change districts has actually prompted more support for Karen Bentley, a former Mecklenburg County commissioner who intends to oppose him in the primary. At least one party insider has predicted Cawthorn “may have a fight on his hands.”

Since his entry into Congress, Madison Cawthorn has become well known for his incendiary rhetoric, as well as for a series of scandals that have plagued his tenure. Earlier this year, reports emerged that Cawthorn sexually assaulted multiple women while attending college. Cawthorn has also made racist comments and expressed homophobic sentiments. The 26-year-old congressman has also faced accusations that he faked details of his biography to win election, and, perhaps most damningly, been named as a possible co-conspirator in the January 6 Capitol Insurrection.