Madison Cawthorn says he’s being blackmailed, and that the Republican establishment is behind it. He says that he won’t fold, but this all raises two questions: what other compromising material do they have, and what exactly do they want from him?
Well, in an interview with the Daily Beast, a North Carolina Political Action Committee can answer at least one of those questions: there’s plenty more out there to make Cawthorn look, really, really bad, and some of it is actually too explicit for publication.
In a campaign ad, Cawthorn said that Republicans want him defeated — he claims it’s because they want someone who “will do backroom deals” and “abandon America First” principles.
RINOS are tripping over themselves to defeat me.
They will lose.
We will win. pic.twitter.com/C2Zeg1vBWn
— Madison Cawthorn (@CawthornforNC) April 29, 2022
He’s discounting that his own behavior has been seen as embarrassing to many old order Republicans — calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a ‘thug’ and the government of that nation ‘evil,’ for instance.
The Daily Beast report seems to support that — their interview with David Wheeler, of the Fire Madison PAC, reveals that the latest video, one in which a nude Cawthorn appears to engage in sexual play or joking with another man, was sent by “a former supporter and donor” who wanted to stay anonymous.
He also says that his PAC has become a “dumping ground” for kompromat on Cawthorn, and that it “includes much more explicit material, some of which couldn’t be published “without breaking North Carolina law.”
Of course, Cawthorn may have a good idea of who the material is coming from — both because some of it must be from limited original sources (how many people were in the room during the nude ‘joking’? and the angle of the crotch-grab video seems to suggest it was his own aide who recorded it) and because he suggests that it’s a ‘blackmail’ campaign, although he doesn’t say quite what he’s being pressured to do in order to stop the releases.
A new hit against me just dropped.
Years ago, in this video, I was being crass with a friend, trying to be funny.
We were acting foolish, and joking.
I’m NOT backing down.
I told you there would be a drip drip campaign.
Blackmail won't win. We will.
— Madison Cawthorn (@CawthornforNC) May 4, 2022
Meanwhile, Cawthorn’s primary is only a week away, and he’s facing another challenge, as the Herald Standard reports that an appeals court has been asked to consider the opinion of a lower court, which ruled against a challenge to his candidacy on the grounds that he supported an insurrection on the United States.
On May 17, North Carolina Republicans will decide whether to give him another shot — and it seems unlikely that he’ll get through that week without more oppositional material being released.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com