Madison Cawthorn: Trump-backed Gen Z congressman ousted amid scandal
May 18, 2022 1 min, 26 secs

Madison Cawthorn's hold on that reputation dissipated on Tuesday night after he lost his bid to renew his title as America's youngest congressman.

The 26-year-old was defeated in a party primary contest in his safely Republican rural North Carolina district by a slim margin, about 1,500 votes.

Plenty of problems plagued Mr Cawthorn's campaign.

When he ran for office, Mr Cawthorn "said some really exciting things, ran a grassroots campaign all over the district, and he showed concern [for his constituents]," said Hunter Clark, 18, a former staffer for the congressman.

Even Mr Cawthorn's most powerful backer, Donald Trump, was said to be wary of the acolyte who had ridden the former president's "Make America Great Again" coattails to office - though a day before the primary he mused that the congressman had "made some foolish mistakes, which I don't believe he'll make again" and deserved a second chance.

"He is the only conservative option with the backbone to stand up to Washington liberals," said Cawthorn voter Cole, 21, who asked that his surname not be included.

But his purported influence with younger voters - the premise of Mr Cawthorn's pitch to Republicans - did not help him on primary night.

Ironically, younger voters were never the ones who hoisted him into office in the first place, said Chris Cooper, a political scientist at Western Carolina University.

Rather, it was the promise that he could speak for them that swayed older voters, said Prof Cooper, who studies North Carolina politics.

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