According to a report in the Charlotte Observer, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R) has become so toxic in his home state of North Carolina that Republicans are using him in campaign ads against each other.
As the Observer's Will Wright reported, the freshman lawmaker has become the centerpiece of an ad from former Gov Pat McCrory (R) who is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and Rep. Ted Budd (R), who received a surprise endorsement from Donald Trump.
According to the report, McCrory, "launched a new digital ad this week attempting to tie one of his biggest competitors to one of the most controversial men in North Carolina politics: Rep. Madison Cawthorn. The ad focuses on war in Ukraine and a riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, putting soundbites from Cawthorn side-by-side with those of Rep. Ted Budd, the Trump-endorsed candidate in the Republican primary for Senate. Cawthorn and Budd are scheduled to share a stage with Trump at his rally in Selma on Saturday."
Cawthorn recently created a stir and was scolded by party leaders after talking about coke-fueled orgies among conservatives in Washington, D.C. Wright notes that McCrory appears to be trying to tap into a wellspring among conservative voters who are more interested in making splashy headlines that working for their constituents.
According to Chris Cooper, a political science professor at Western Carolina University, “He’s clearly trying to present the view that he’s not an extremist. That is his electoral lane, and I think that is also who he is.”
The report adds, "Budd on Thursday released a new video of his own highlighting his Trump endorsement and pointing to positive economic outcomes during the Trump presidency."
"While McCrory received just over $3 million in contributions to his campaign in 2021 compared to Budd’s $2.7 million, Budd also has the backing of the Washington-based PAC Club For Growth. That organization has spent more than $8 million on the primary so far and plans to spend $14 million by the election in May," Wright added.