Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) is accusing certain people of targeting him with a “coordinated drip campaign” in an effort to undermine his bid to seek reelection this year.
“They’re going to drop an attack article every one or two days just to try and kill us with a death by 1,000 cuts, and that is really their main strategy,” Cawthorn said in an April 26 statement on Instagram.
Cawthorn, 26, has been facing backlash over several controversies, including being detained by police in North Carolina over possessing a loaded gun at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport earlier on April 26.
Cawthorn, whose spokesperson didn’t respond by press time to a request for comment, was issued a citation for violating a Charlotte ordinance and was released, although police kept the firearm.
Cawthorn also accused people on Capitol Hill of offering him drugs and participation in sexual activities, drawing criticism from colleagues.
In March, Cawthorn said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was “a thug” and that the Ukrainian government was “incredibly evil.” The statement was criticized by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and by several Republican primary contenders hoping for the nomination over Cawthorn later this year.
Cawthorn in his Instagram statement suggested that attacks from “establishment actors” could continue in the form of voter fraud to shift the scales against him, noting that most incumbent members of Congress win reelection.
Likely in reference to the ongoing effort to have Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) disqualified from running for reelection on 14th Amendment grounds, Cawthorn said that “you’re starting to see this coordinated attack” against “hardcore conservatives going up for reelection across the country.”
Some opponents of Cawthorn have suggested that he should also be barred from running for reelection for violating the amendment, although a federal judge recently dismissed the legal challenge.
In a recent political ad, North Carolina state Sen. Chuck Edwards, a Republican challenging Cawthorn, claimed that the congressman cares more about social media fame than he does about legislating.
Cawthorn responded by saying that critics “obviously don’t understand what’s going on.”
He described Instagram as “a good platform to get the truth out about conservatism out to these people when they have been indoctrinated with these lies of socialism.”
Still, Cawthorn faces adversity in his effort to win reelection.
Outgoing Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) recently endorsed Edwards, saying that Cawthorn “has fallen well short of the most basic standards Western North Carolina expects from their representatives.” Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) also criticized the young lawmaker.
Amid this slew of unflattering stories, some Republican contenders and strategists have expressed concerns about Cawthorn’s electability in the next cycle.
“Conservatives in my district are terrified that we will lose this Republican seat to a leftist Biden Democrat if Cawthorn somehow wins the nomination,” Michele Woodhouse, another Republican challenging Cawthorn, said in a statement following Cawthorn’s comments about Zelenskyy and Ukraine.
Cawthorn has said he won’t accede to demands to retire early.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.