The big GOP establishment win in NC-11 in western North Carolina is being attributed to Senator Thom Tillis-- and he deserves a great deal of it-- but the hidden hand behind Cawthorn's defeat was Kevin McCarthy. After Cawthorn exposed the GOP congressional coke-fueled orgies, McCarthy's immediate reaction was to circle the wagons around Cawthorn... a little public wrist slam and one of his laughable stern talks (to protect his own ass)... but then a series of typical lies in an attempt to protect Madison-- an apologetic admission the orgy revelation wasn't true and a manufactured statement that it was a staffer snorting snorting coke, not a member. And then a decision that the Cawthorn-obsessed, orgy-inviting member, Patrick McHenry, would not be allowed to become Whip (for which he had already paid the NRCC $1,097,558). He was ordered by Scalise to withdraw from the race "voluntarily," which he promptly did-- and if he behaves himself they'll let him be chair of the House Financial Services Committee when they takeover next year.
What sealed Cawthorn's fate was his decision to not play along. He told Roger Stone that he never agreed to McCarthy's lies and he refused to ever acknowledge any of the bullshit publicly. Stone ran to InfoWars the next day and told the audience that he "spent 41 years in the corroded rectum of the two-party system and I saw this up close. Anybody out there who thinks that the ruling elite in DC, or Malibu, or Manhattan, or Hollywood do not engage in drug-fueled orgies is out of their mind. And all of those in the media and in the Congress who are now attacking Madison Cawthorn, stop and ask yourself: why are they doing that? Who are they covering for? Or is it themselves? I can tell you firsthand that these parties happen. I can tell you that they continue to happen. I can tell you that Madison Cawthorn told me yesterday that he had not retracted what he said, even though Kevin McCarthy seems to have popped up and is now speaking for the member of Congress, saying that 'Oh he admitted that he made...' No, I don't think he's admitted anything of the kind. I don't think he's admitted embellishing or retracted anything he said. Alex, he spoke the truth."
For those paying attention-- ostensibly not the Beltway media-- Cawthorn exposed McCarthy as the hackish liar he's always been. Cawthorn's fate was sealed when he refused to be a team player. McCarthy pushed him off the team. Even when Trump made a tepid appeal to give him a second chance, his goose was cooked-- the drip, drip, drip of one scandal after another exposed him for the self-obsessed crackpot he's always been-- even to the jerks who vote in Republican primaries in North Carolina... although, it's worth mentioning that Cawthorn won in 3 of the 4 small rural counties: Haywood, Macon and Cherokee, backward counties that heavily backed Trump and have lower vaccination rates that the state average:
Buncombe Co.- 24% Cawthorn (68% fully vaccinated)-- 38.6% Trump
Henderson Co.- 25% Cawthorn (60% fully vaccinated)-- 58.5% Trump
Haywood Co.- 32% Cawthorn (59% fully vaccinated)-- 62.5% Trump
Macon Co.- 36% Cawthorn (59% fully vaccinated)-- 68.5% Trump
Cherokee Co.- 46% Cawthorn (58% fully vaccinated)-- 76.9% Trump
Transylvania Co.- 25% Cawthorn (58% fully vaccinated)-- 57.0% Trump
Cawthorn spent $3,509,635 to keep his seat, although a greta deal of it was wasted on helping candidates in different districts and on building up his national reputation and on extraneous, non-campaign expenses, like feathering his lover's nest (3rd cousin once removed). Victor, state Sen. Chuck Edwards raised $803,061 and spent $611,460, all of it inside the district. The menagerie of other Republicans who didn't have much chance to win, were also hammering Cawthorn. Matthew Burril spent $452,034; Bruce O'Connell spent $420,179; and Michelle Woodhouse spent $90,760.
Independent Expenditures-- green-lighted by McCarthy-- killed Cawthorn. Tillis' PAC spent at least $1.6 million trashing Cawthorn and talking up Edwards. One SuperPAC, Drain the DC Swamp, came to Cawthorn's defense, with a meager $28,606. None of his congressional allies reached out to help him and even the team of nice-looking young male candidates he recruited to be part of Team Cawthorn in Congress, like Bo Hines, who won his primary, and Jake Bequette, who won't win his next week, all abandoned him. "Madison? Madison who? James Madison?"
With 95% of the vote counted-- and, somewhat surprisingly, Cawthorn having already conceded-- these are the results:
Chuck Edwards- 29,411 (33.4%)
Madison Cawthorn- 28,092 (31.9%)
Matthew Burril- 8,314 (9.4%)
Bruce O'Connell- 6,031 (6.8%)
Rod Honeycutt- 5,752 (6.5%)
Michelle Woodhouse- 4,663 (5.3%)
Wendy Nevarez- 4,491 (5.1%)
Kristie Sluder- 1,305 (1.5%)
Today, Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger celebrated Cawthorn's defeat on CNN. "It's good. I mean it’s good for the country, it’s good for the party, it’s good for the 11th district of North Carolina. D.C., has become kind of a growing ground for people that are just more interested in fame than governing, that are more interested in becoming famous than in actually doing the very serious work at a time when we’ve got a lot of challenges here at home and a lot of challenges overseas. It was a good thing he lost... It's good to see him lose."
Now Speaker-in-waiting McCarthy's fear is that Cawthorn will write a book, exposing McCarthy's swamp. Any publisher would love to hear about Matt Gaetz's coke snorting and nebbishy closet case Patrick McHenry's arduous pursuit to young Cawthorn's sexual favors. Cawthorn has a real story to tell. If he plays it right and does it fast, it could even be a movie... starring Madison Cawthorn.
As for Democrats... what did they gain? The GOP's most attention-grabbing lunatic will no longer be front and center making the Republican Party look terrible on a steady basis. NC-11 is slightly less red than it once was and could have been won by a Democrat in a blue wave cycle... which could come in 2024 or, more likely, 2026, when the GOP overplays its hand. It will however, be infinitely harder to beat a garden variety conservative zombie like Edwards than a crazy extremist like Cawthorn. Local Democrats in Asheville are congratulating themselves today for the role they played in defeating Cawthorn, but, even if it was a great moral victory, strategically it's really a bust.