Underdog NC GOP Primary Winner Explains Blowout Victory Against Trump-Endorsed Rival

(Screenshot: Madison Cawthorn campaign/YouTube)
June 24, 2020 11:04 a.m.

Madison Cawthorn, the 24-year-old unexpected winner of North Carolina’s Republican primary runoff election in the state’s 11th Congressional District, explained that his local roots accounted for his landslide victory against Lynda Bennett, his Trump-endorsed rival.

“I really account that to we kept it local,” Cawthorn said Wednesday when MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough asked how he beat Bennett by more than 30 points.

“My opponent was focused on D.C. politics and just trying to focus on Washington, whereas we focused on really just accepting all of the Republican sheriffs’ endorsements around here and all the local leaders,” he continued.

Cawthorn asserted that his campaign’s “biggest message,” while comparing himself to Bennett, was he was “not beholden to any Washington, D.C. insiders.”

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“You know, the only people I’m beholden to are the people of western North Carolina,” the young GOP candidate said. “And I look forward to representing our people and being able to represent our values without feeling like I owe somebody else.”

Cawthorn won 65.9 percent of the vote, according to the New York Times, while Bennett earned 34.1 percent in their race for North Carolina’s 11th District seat, which had been vacated by now-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

President Donald Trump announced his “Complete & Total Endorsement” of Bennett twice prior to the elections.

“We need Lynda Bennett!” he tweeted on June 4.

Trump endorsed her again last Tuesday, saying that she “will be a great help to me in DC.”

Bennett was also endorsed by Meadows, whose wife happens to be friends with the candidate, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

However, Cawthorn emphasized in his victory statement that endorsement or no, he still supports “our great president” and that he doesn’t believe his upset win over Bennett was “a referendum on the President’s influence.”

“I look forward to fighting alongside our president after I’m elected in November,” Cawthorn said.

Watch Cawthorn on “Morning Joe” below:


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