With new district maps in place and filing for the 2022 midterms elections in North Carolina beginning in December, the stage is set for candidates to contend for a key U.S. Senate seat and shifts in congressional representation.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) announced his run for the 13th congressional district, a district currently represented by Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.).
Cawthorn currently represents the 11th congressional district, a seat previously held by former Republican White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
“We now have a brand-new congressional district and as it stands, the new lines have split my constituents,” Cawthorn said in a statement. “My house is almost directly on the line of separation from the 13th and 14th congressional district. And now, half the counties in the new district are counties I currently represent.”
His constituents have been split, he said, which is why he said he chose to switch to the 13th congressional district, where he said he could “make the greatest impact on the affairs of the state and our nation.”
“I have every confidence in the world that regardless of where I run, the 14th congressional district would send a patriotic fighter to D.C., but knowing the political realities of the 13th district, I’m afraid that another establishment go-along to get-along Republican would prevail there,” Cawthorn said.
Cawthorn is frequently seen at local school board meetings and freedom rallies in his district siding with parents who oppose mask mandates and critical race theory being taught in school.
Josh Remillard, a Democrat and U.S. Army veteran who had been campaigning for Cawthorn’s 11th district, announced on Monday that he will be running for the 13th congressional district just days after Cawthorn’s switch.
After the 2020 U.S. Census, North Carolina gained the 14th congressional district in the western part of the state due to the state’s population growth of 9.5 percent.
According to Dr. Andy Jackson with the John Locke Foundation—an independent research institute in North Carolina that examines issues around freedom, personal responsibility, and limited constitutional government—there had been rumors that Republican House Speaker Tim Moore would run for the 13th congressional district.
Had Moore run, he would have faced off with Cawthorn, however, Moore announced last week that he intends to remain the Speaker of the House.
“While much of the speculation about my potential congressional candidacy has been driven by the media and political pundits, I have been humbled by the folks in our region who expressed their wishes for me to represent them in Washington,” Moore said. “While I have given it consideration, right now I am focused on the issues at hand that will impact all North Carolinians.”
Budd, a Republican backed by former President Donald Trump, announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senator Richard Burr’s seat after Burr said he would not seek reelection in 2022.
“I’m a small businessman who was so fed up with the liberals’ attacks on our faith, our families, and our way of life that I ran for Congress to stand and fight alongside Donald Trump to drain the swamp and take our country back,” Budd said in his campaign announcement video.
Budd was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives who signed an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, which was a lawsuit filed in the U.S. Supreme Court contesting the 2020 presidential election.
Burr, a Republican, is currently being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for an alleged stock sell-off that happened at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other Republicans eyeing Burr’s seat are former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, a Republican.
Also in the running for Burr’s seat is former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court Cheri Beasley, a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination.
She competes against state Sen. Jeff Jackson, a Democrat and major in the National Guard who represents the 37th Senate district, and former state Sen. Erica Smith, who had been a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2020.
The U.S. Senate currently has 48 Democrats, 2 independents, and 50 Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris as president of the Senate having the authority to break a tie on a partisan vote on which the two Independents—Angus King (I-Maine) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—will typically caucus with Democrats.