RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — Some Democrats are trying an unusual strategy to try to defeat controversial Republican US Rep. Madison Cawthorn: They’re urging people to vote in the Republican primary.
Moe Davis, a Democrat who ran and lost to Cawthorn in 2020, is urging Democrats to temporarily change their voter registration to unaffiliated. Under state law, this would allow them to vote in either party’s primary.
“If you remember, when Bill Clinton was running for President, they had the slogan, ‘It’s the economy, fool.’ What I’ve been trying to stress to people is, ‘It’s the math, dumbass,'” Davis said.
Davis is concerned that Democrats in the Republican-leaning 11th District, which consists of the state’s westernmost counties, are unlikely to defeat Cawthorn in November’s general election.
He believes their votes could have a greater impact in the primary, where turnout is likely to be lower.
“Small numbers are more important in primary elections than in general elections. So we have a chance. The main thing is to make Madison Cawthorn a one-and-done,” he said. “Some people find it difficult to care. You want me to vote republican? And it’s like, yeah, for the short-term benefit.”
Davis co-founded the American Muckrakers PAC, which operates the website FireMadison.com. Davis is not running in this year’s election. His group supports Republican Wendy Nevaraz, a Navy veteran. She is among the seven Republicans attempting to defeat Cawthorn.
“Wendy is a Navy veteran, very sensible. I don’t agree with her on everything, but I’m reasonably confident she won’t lead an insurgency in her first week in office,” Davis said.
Several GOP leaders, such as House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Chairman Phil Berger, are backing state Senator Chuck Edwards in the primary.
Cawthorn, who is in his first term in Congress, has repeatedly drawn national attention for making outrageous comments. Last he claimed to have been invited to orgies and seen people in Congress working to combat addiction do a “key bump” of cocaine.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met with Cawthorn when his peers grew increasingly frustrated with him and Cawthorn said he told him the comments were exaggerated.
“What I’ve seen is that his support is waning, especially with this latest cocaine and orgy stuff,” Davis said.
To avoid a runoff after the May 17 primary, one of the candidates must win with more than 30 percent of the vote. Davis said if a Republican other than Nevarez got into a runoff with Cawthorn, he would endorse that candidate.
Luke Ball, a spokesman for Cawthorn, said: “We are pleased to see that Congressman Cawthorn poses such an effective threat to the left’s agenda that his candidacy prompts Democrats to flee their own party.”
Andy Jackson, director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity at the conservative John Locke Foundation, has been investigating voter registration turnover this year.
Based on publicly available data from the North Carolina State Board of Elections, Jackson says that by the end of March, on average, just over 700 Democrats had changed party affiliations in other congressional districts.
But in Cawthorn’s district, more than 1,600 have.
“Well, it seems to be having a small effect,” Jackson said. “You’re seeing 900 more at the end of March than you would expect if the 11th Circuit were acting like the rest of the state.”
It is not clear what percentage of those who change their allegiance do so as part of an effort to defeat Cawthorn. Jackson said he was skeptical that this strategy would work.
“It’s unusual,” Jackson said. “That usually doesn’t work. The numbers here suggest it probably won’t succeed.”
In 2020, Cawthorn finished second in the Republican primary, receiving 2,125 fewer votes than Linda Bennett. That led to a runoff in June, which Cawthorn won by a two-to-one margin.
“A few thousand votes in May can make a bigger difference than tens of thousands of votes in November,” Davis said. “Trump won this district by 47,000 votes. Even in a bad year, trying to overcome this deficit will still be a Herculean task.”
Davis’ group supports Katie Dean on the Democrat side.
The last day to change party affiliation before the primary is April 22nd.
https://www.cbs17.com/news/north-carolina-news/some-democrats-voting-republican-to-try-to-defeat-rep-madison-cawthorn/ Some NC Democrats are voting Republicans to try to defeat Rep. Madison Cawthorn