Madison Cawthorn, 24, defeats Trump pick in North Carolina GOP congressional primary

Political newcomer Madison Cawthorn passed President Donald Trump's election for Mark Meadows' seat in Congress in a two-man GOP runoff on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old Republican from Henderson County defeated Lynda Bennett from Haywood County in the first run-off election for the 11th congressional district in North Carolina.
"I don't think this election was a referendum on the president's influence," Cawthorn wrote in a statement on election night. “People in western North Carolina are wise and demanding. You watched both candidates and simply made the choice you thought was best for our district. "
Cawthorn won about two-thirds of the vote over Bennett, who received the President's support in a June tweet.
"Please have this serve as my complete and complete confirmation of a great fighter and ally in North Carolina," said Trump's June 4 message using Bennett's Twitter handle. “She is strong in crime, borders, military, our big vets and 2A. It will be of great help to me in DC. "
Related topics: During the second area code, Cawthorn addresses personal voting by email
The real estate investor and motivational speaker is now battling Democratic candidate and retired U.S. Air Force colonel Moe Davis in a district spanning 18 counties in western North Carolina.
Madison Cawthorn
An 'inspiring' candidate story
Cawthorn's victory is the latest triumph in a personal biography that has caught voters' attention.
Meg Climo of the Walnut Community in Madison County said she found Cawthorn's message and story "inspiring".
"I think he will do what he wants," she said after voting in Marshall on election day.
Cawthorn won all but one of the counties, which were fully reported from 10 p.m. Bennett won in Rutherford County and received almost 65% of the vote. Cawthorn won the other counties with comfortable leads, except in Clay and Swain, where he won with three and five votes, respectively. The total number of votes will not be official until next week.
In Transylvania, Cawthorn received 1,611 votes to Bennett's 809; 12.8% of the district's electorate or 2,424 of 18,862 people cast ballots in the runoff election.
In Polk County, he voted with 786 votes for Bennett's 457. About 10.9% of the county's voters or 1,248 out of 11,455 people cast ballots.
Cawthorn, who would reach the constitutional age of 25 to serve in the house in August, was paralyzed from the belly down after a 2014 car accident.
Teaching at home in Hendersonville, he planned to go to the U.S. Naval Academy before the accident partially paralyzed him and left him in a wheelchair. For Cawthorn, the experience allows him to naturally connect with voters, he told The Asheville Citizen Times, which is part of the USA TODAY Network, back in January.
"I went through adversity," he said. "I have empathy. I know what suffering people do, I care for others, and I will work in Washington to get the government out of the way so they can take care of themselves. "
Defeat Trump, Meadows' choice
Priscilla and Roger Cawthorn sit with their 23-year-old son Madison on the veranda of their home in Flat Rock. The family likes to spend time together outside on the covered porch.
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Although Haywood County's Lynda Bennett received the most votes in the Republican primary in March, she was more than 7 percentage points behind the 30 percent threshold for a first win.
Meadows announced in late December that he would not seek re-election and endorsed Bennett, a property owner and friend of Meadows' wife.
Bennett had received the President's support on Twitter and the previous endorsement from Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows among other GOP heavyweights.
Cawthorn called for runoff after he finished second in a primary school with 12 candidates after Bennett in early March. The planned outflow in May was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cawthorn, who also described himself as a strong Trump supporter, tried to rewrite Bennett's notes, saying he would not be committed to anyone in Washington if he reached Congress. But his campaign was also supported by a Super PAC that supports candidates who are allied with Sen. Rand Paul.
Given voters' concerns about the spread of the pandemic, postal ballot papers were popular in the 17 mountain districts of District 11 before the runoff.
Early personal voting sites were open, and constituencies in several of the district's 17 districts were mainly consolidated to address social distancing problems. Voters wore face masks and provided voters with disposable pens and cotton swabs to mark ballots.
Contributed: The Associated Press and Henderson Times-News
This article originally appeared in the Asheville Citizen Times: Political novice upset Trump's election at North Carolina GOP Elementary School

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