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A 25-Year-Old Republican Won In North Carolina. He’ll Soon Be The Youngest Member Of Congress.

The race to fill the seat of Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows drew national attention after the surprise Republican primary win by Madison Cawthorn in June. In recent months, he has had to deny he is racist.

Posted on November 3, 2020, at 9:33 p.m. ET

Man in wheelchair speaking on stage.
Rusty Jones / Newscom

Madison Cawthorn addressing the crowd during a Trump campaign event in Hendersonville, North Carolina on September 10, 2020.

Madison Cawthorn, a 25-year-old Republican who rose to national prominence after his surprise primary win earlier this year, will soon be the youngest member of Congress after he won his race in North Carolina on Tuesday.

Cawthorn defeated Democrat Moe Davis, a 62-year-old retired Air Force colonel and former prosecutor at Guantánamo Bay, in the state’s 11th Congressional District, which occupies most of Western North Carolina.

The race was called by Decision Desk HQ and the Associated Press around 9:30 p.m. ET.

Reacting to his victory, Cawthorn tweeted, "Cry more, lib."

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When Cawthorn is sworn into his seat in January at 25 he will be doing so at the minimum age set forth in the Constitution to serve in the House. Currently, the youngest member of Congress is 31-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat representing New York in the House of Representatives. The youngest senator is 40-year-old Missouri Republican Josh Hawley. Overall, however, the current Congress is among the oldest ever.

“We’ve been sending the exact same thing to Washington so many times,” Cawthorn told BuzzFeed News in June. “Congress is designed to be a cross-section of the American people and it’s definitely not.”

Cawthorn identifies as a member of Gen Z, although by the standards used by the Pew Research Center he is off by a year or so and is considered a millennial.

He’ll now serve in the seat previously held by Mark Meadows, who is now President Donald Trump’s chief of staff.

Cawthorn attracted national headlines in June when he bested his establishment-backed primary opponent, who had been endorsed by Trump and Meadows.

A rising star in the GOP, he was quickly rewarded with a primetime speaking slot during August’s Republican National Convention. At the end of his speech, which focused on the adversities he had overcome in recovering from a car crash that left him partially paralyzed, Cawthorn stood up from his wheelchair with the assistance of two aides.

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But Cawthorn’s ties to the far right came under scrutiny in recent months, prompting him to have to repeatedly deny he is racist.

In August, Cawthorn briefly hid — then reinstated — a picture of himself at Adolf Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest villa in Germany after Jezebel reported that Cawthorn wrote in the caption that the trip was on his “bucket list.” The same Jezebel story noted Cawthorn had registered an LLC with a Latin acronym name that is popular with white nationalists and that he often appears before an old version of the US flag also popular with some extremists.

Last month, his campaign removed a section from its website accusing Davis of working with a reporter who left a previous job “to work for non-white males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males running for office.” The New Jersey Democratic senator has also been a frequent target of less explicitly racist attacks from Trump.

The website wording, which Cawthorn blamed on a “syntax error,” prompted Booker to say he was saddened that “somebody who is so clearly racist is a nominee of a major party.”

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