By Ron Kampeas
Madison Cawthorn, the first-term Republican congressman whose scandals included a pilgrimage to Hitler’s mountain retreat and past efforts to convert Jews to Christianity, will leave Congress after losing the Republican primary in his North Carolina district Tuesday.
Cawthorn’s defeat was one of several Tuesday for candidates who represent the far-right wing of the Republican party, including a high-profile one in Idaho who had the backing of former President Donald Trump. But most Trump endorsees did prevail Tuesday, signaling that the battle for the future of the party continues.
Idaho’s lieutenant governor, Janet McGeachin — who has multiple far-right associations and spoke to white nationalists as she recruited a local rabbi for an antisemitism task force — fell short in her bid to challenge incumbent Gov. Brad Little in the GOP primary there.
Trump’s pick for Republican candidate to fill a vacant Senate seat in Pennsylvania, the celebrity physician Dr. Mehmet Oz, faces a recount in the primary there because of his narrow vote margin over a more traditional Republican, a former hedge fund executive named David McCormick.
Trump endorsed Cawthorn last year during the first-term congressman’s visit to Mar-a-Lago and asked voters this week to give the candidate “a second chance.” But Cawthorn’s tenure was dogged by scandal and fighting with others in his party that led the state’s Republican leadership to back efforts to unseat him.
Cawthorn had upset Jews in North Carolina’s 11th District, many of whom hoped that his troubles could allow a Democrat to be elected in the historically Republican district, which was redrawn this year. Instead, Republican Chuck Edwards, a businessman and Trump supporter, is seen as highly likely to defeat Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, a minister and LGBTQ activist who is the Democratic candidate on November’s ballot.