Madison Cawthorn won North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District on Tuesday, defeating the former Air Force colonel Moe Davis and keeping the conservative seat in Republican hands after a race that became unexpectedly competitive when Mr. Cawthorn was accused of racism and sexual misconduct.
Mr. Cawthorn is the youngest Republican ever elected to Congress, and the youngest person of any party elected to it in more than 50 years. He turned 25, the minimum age to serve in the House, in August.
When he won the Republican primary in June — upsetting the candidate endorsed by the Republican establishment and by former Representative Mark Meadows, who had vacated the seat to become President Trump’s chief of staff — Mr. Cawthorn was considered all but a lock to win in November. The district, after all, is solidly conservative, and his personal story was compelling: He was partly paralyzed in a car crash when he was 18, and he presented himself as a fresh face who could bring a new generational perspective to the Republican Party.
But news reports soon uncovered a misrepresentation in how he cast his story: He had said that his dreams of attending the United States Naval Academy had been derailed by his car crash, but the academy had actually rejected him before the crash.
Other reports noted social media posts he had made, in which he referred to Hitler as “the Fuhrer” and said that visiting Hitler’s vacation home in Germany had been on his “bucket list,” and that it “did not disappoint.” Multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct. And last month, he created a website attacking a journalist for working “for nonwhite males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males running for office.”
In an interview with The New York Times shortly after he won his primary, Mr. Cawthorn said, “I believe I can carry the message of conservatism in a way that doesn’t seem so abrasive — that has better packaging, I would say, better messaging.”
But his first tweet after the race was called for him on Tuesday night fit well with the messaging of the Republican Party writ large during the Trump era.
“Cry more, lib,” it said.
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