Jan 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

North Carolina voters file suit to disqualify Rep. Cawthorn's re-election bid

 Emil Lippe for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Photo: Emil Lippe/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

A group of North Carolina voters filed a legal challenge Monday to disqualify Rep. Madison Cawthorn from running for re-election, citing the Republican lawmaker's involvement in a rally preceding the deadly Capitol insurrection.

Why it matters: The legal challenge, filed before the North Carolina State Board of Elections, argues that Cawthorn's speech at the rally, questioning the result of the presidential election, constitutionally bars him from seeking a second term.

  • The voters contend that Cawthorn violated the 14th Amendment, which states that no person, "who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress ... shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion."
  • The challenge also alleges that the North Carolina Republican "urged his followers to threaten and intimidate" members of Congress, adding that he or his staff were also "in close contact with rally organizers."

What they're saying: "The coordinated and violent Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying the presidential vote was an insurrection against the United States," Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech For People, said in a statement.

  • "The Constitution disqualifies from public office any elected officials who aided that insurrection," he continued.
  • The "publicly available evidence, including Rep. Cawthorn’s statements and reports that he or his office coordinated with the Jan. 6 organizers, establish reasonable suspicion that Rep. Cawthorn aided the insurrection, thereby disqualifying him from federal office."

"Left-wing activists are trying to stop me from fighting for YOU THE PEOPLE," Cawthorn said in a tweet responding to the legal challenge.

  • "I won't be stopped," he added. "Help me fight back!"
Go deeper