Cawthorn Sharing Concerns: Economy & Protests - TribPapers

Cawthorn Sharing Concerns: Economy & Protests

Madison Cawthorn, shown campaigning in his native Hendersonville, is the GOP candidate for Congress.

Hendersonville – Madison Cawthorn, the Hendersonville native running for Congress, is in his latest phase of overcoming adversity.

David Madison Cawthorn, 25, is the Republican candidate for the 11th District in N.C. He is familiar nationwide as the young, muscular man in a wheelchair—since he was a passenger in a flaming auto crash in Florida, on April 2, 2014, when he was 18.

Cawthorn sustained the following injuries, according to his parents Roger and Priscilla Cawthorn: Lower-back vertebrae broken which partially paralyzed him, broken pelvis, both lungs collapsed, a kidney “ripped off,” “all intestines pushed up to the diaphragm,” broken foot, and third-degree burns on one leg.

Doctors “didn’t think he was going to make it,” Priscilla said, and Madison was in intensive care for five weeks.

He now states his “spirit, determination, faith, and courage have been tested in ways very few will ever face. I’m a proven fighter—overcoming life’s toughest challenges. Now, I’m ready to take on the liberals in Congress.”

He is an eighth-generation native of the area. His Revolutionary War ancestor, Capt. Abraham Kuykendall (1719-1812), was a pioneer of Flat Rock.

He enthusiastically talks for personal freedoms and against Big Government. Election Day is November 3. His race is a choice between “a career D.C. insider or an outsider,” according to a Cawthorn TV ad. “Higher taxes or lower taxes. Gun confiscation or Second Amendment rights. Socialist health care with rationing or choice and competition for lower costs. Defunding the police or supporting the police. Government control or freedom.”

In an interview with The Tribune October 19, Cawthorn described the issues district residents raise most to him. “One is defunding of police,” he said. “We saw the Asheville Council take away $770,000. More than thirty officers already left the force. It’s undermanned. People are overwhelmingly concerned with safety and security.”

Business owners have been frustrated with closures, then capacity limits, forced on them by statewide mandates due to the pandemic, and many fear prospects of a nationwide shutdown if Democrats control Washington, D.C., he said. “Any job that feeds the family is an essential job. I feel for business owners in this area. My plan is to expand ‘opportunity zones.’ Businesses’ capital gains costs and taxes are reduced. There’s over 550,000 empty square feet of manufacturing space.”

North Carolina should have more fully reopened business and public activities two months earlier than it has, Cawthorn said. He said that above all, indoor church services should have been allowed earlier. He called their longtime shutdown “one of the most grievous” actions by the state, one possibly to stifle the religious right.

He said another concern is over “broadband blackout areas.”

Protest Violence

An earlier Cawthorn TV ad questions Davis’s claim of his putting “country over party”: “Then why won’t extreme liberal Moe Davis denounce the defund the police movement? Because he stands with them. Davis participates in their protests. Shares their values. And is silent—while they turn Asheville into Portland.”

Cawthorn was asked about views toward violent protests of residents in the districts who he talks to on the campaign trail. First, “they see it far away,” but “it’s weird to see it in our own home,” too.

Vandalism Hits Home

Cawthorn is concerned about violence that has erupted in protests across the nation—at times in Asheville including when protestors attacked conservative journalist Chad Nesbitt, in Asheville September 23rd, and now with vandalism outside Cawthorn’s home. Cawthorn said he had an uplifting sight on October 15, while addressing a Yancey County GOP group. “Someone approached me with a phone, during the live stream. It was Chad Nesbitt. He was walking with a cane.”

Cawthorn and Democrat Moe Davis sparred in three debates. The last one, televised live September 30th on WLOS/WMYU, was staged in the WLOS studio near Biltmore Park.

In that debate, Cawthorn noted an organized protest outside the venue that he saw on the way in. “They were beating fifty-gallon drums and chanting. They behaved well,” in expressing free speech, he told The Tribune.

He said “the ones who didn’t” stay peaceful and lawful were in Asheville, Hendersonville, and Brevard earlier this month where GOP campaign signs were vandalized and graffiti sprayed onto the party headquarters in Hendersonville.

Also, they “vandalized my home.” They painted graffiti slogans against him on nine of his campaign signs, and cut out images of his head and neck from his signs, and littered his lawn with such items. Graffiti slogans were painted on some of his large roadside signs.

“It was just childish,” Cawthorn said. He said of sign defacing that “if you can’t (instead) use words in an argument, then something’s wrong” to resort to vandalism.

Worse, he senses a sinister edge to the vandalism. He told The Tribune he believes the symbolic neck chopping purposely coincides with Davis’s angry tweet a year ago calling to “stomp” and “grind” GOP necks. Cawthorn said Davis’s tweet “speaks to a dark soul.”

Cawthorn stated on Facebook: “These left-wing enforcers spray-painted threats of violence and echoed my opponent’s words, as they symbolically crushed my neck and head on each sign deposited on my property. Activists from far-left fringe Antifa groups acted on the aggressive rhetoric of my opponent and committed gross acts of vandalism and destruction of property across this district. My opponent’s strike force inflicted thousands of dollars of damage to both public and private property.” He blamed organized “thugs acting in support of my opponent’s vision.”

Davis had tweeted (with no punctuation, as follows): “…We stomp their scrawny pasty necks with our heels and once you hear the sound of a crisp snap you grind your heel hard and twist it slowly side to side for good measure…”

Davis said in a debate he was not literally, but was trying to “fire up the troops.” He said he was angry over what he said was GOP state lawmakers maneuvering on a vote. 

Cawthorn told The Tribune, “You only saw Joe Biden recently” denounce protest violence after he dipped in the polls over that issue. “My opponent has joined these rallies, marching to the literal drumbeat of defund the police. I have the backing of law enforcement” and many sheriffs in the district. “They stand between us and lawlessness.”

Many wonder if even local protests are getting infiltrated by paid professionals, who tend to be more violent. “These people are coming into our district,” Cawthorn said. 


A federal reparations policy for blacks is “inherently racist,” he said. He prefers “opportunity zones” with deferred commercial capital-gain tax breaks for businesses investing in lower-income areas and providing jobs to minorities and others. Such zones emerged from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Cawthorn refutes Davis’s charges that he (Cawthorn) affiliates with white supremacy groups. He notes that his fiancee, Cristina Bayardelle, is bi-racial. On Facebook, she lauds Cawthorn as “the most motivating, inspiring, and incredible person I know.”

In the campaign’s home stretch, he said his energy “couldn’t be any higher. We’re ahead in the polls.” He said his campaign has raised a record $2.2 million for the 11th District. “With all of the negative headwinds Republicans are getting” in national media, “we’re defying those trends.”

For more on Madison Cawthorn and his campaign, visit

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