CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) — There is more fallout from Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s comments about “orgies and cocaine” in Washington, D.C. circles. The comments, where he alleged people that he “looked up to” had participated in the potentially illicit activities, are also comments he has since reportedly walked back.
But for some, the damage is done.
“People called on us, across the district, state, and D.C., [to] stay in this race,” said Michele Woodhouse, who is one of several candidates running in the Republican primary against Cawthorn.
Woodhouse, who was once a supporter of Cawthorn, was encouraged to run for North Carolina’s 11th District seat, prior to redistricting, after Cawthorn sought to file for candidacy in a district closer to Charlotte.
But since then, Cawthorn has returned to the 11th District, which serves part of the Queen City News viewing area, and Woodhouse said she has a different view, calling him “unelectable.”
“He comes out of the primary, he gives the Left a seat,” she said, referring to the general election.
The calls of condemnation have extended out to a number of candidates vying for the Republican seat. Besides Cawthorn and Woodhouse, Matthew Buril, Chuck Edwards, Rod Honeycutt, Wendy Nevarez, Bruce O’Connell, and Katie Sluder have filed to run for the primary, which will be held in May.
“I believe he thinks any publicity is good publicity,” said former Henderson County Sheriff George Erwin, who is supporting Rod Honeycutt.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said, after a meeting with the congressman, that Cawthorn’s claims were “exaggerated.” However, the comments have also cost him some support within the party leadership and among his colleagues in Congress.
“Congressman Dan Bishop told me, ‘the only orgy in Washington is the orgy of spending,'” said Emily Brooks, a reporter at Nexstar sister publication The Hill.
Brooks said those she’s spoken with on and off the record on Capitol Hill are also wary of associating with Cawthorn as a result of the “orgies and cocaine” statements.
“(It) puts everyone he associates with into that category,” said Brooks. “That’s definitely not appreciated.”
Cawthorn, who has not responded to any requests for comment since his meeting yesterday with House leadership, has posted a campaign video on his Twitter, taking aim at critics.
Queen City News also reached out to other Republican North Carolina representatives, who did not respond to our requests for comment.
A number of people have, as a result of this latest incident, called Cawthorn an “embarrassment,” including Woodhouse.
“You can’t be a lightning rod and a poor legislator, because you’re a mile wide, [and] an inch deep,” Woodhouse said. “And people say enough. We just don’t want it, anymore.”
U.S. Senator Thom Tillis has also expressed his support for a candidate other than Cawthorn for the 11th District seat. On Thursday, he endorsed State Sen. Chuck Edwards, who represents Buncombe, Henderson and Transylvania counties in the General Assembly.