Apr 22, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Tillis super PAC rips Cawthorn "lies"

A screenshot of super pac Results for NC's ad hitting Madison Cawthorn's "lies"
Screenshot from the Results for NC ad, "Madison Cawthorn's Lies." Source: YouTube

A super PAC aligned with Sen. Thom Tillis is spending six-figures on a hard-hitting ad going after his fellow North Carolina Republican, freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn, records show.

Why it matters: The ad buy is the latest sign of discontent among powerful state Republicans with the hard-right Cawthorn, who's riled his colleagues most recently with comments about cocaine-fueled orgies in Washington.

  • The new ad campaign shows a North Carolina Republican establishment consolidating behind one of his primary opponents, state senator Chuck Edwards, who's also picked up backing from key state GOP leaders.
  • Cawthorn's campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request from Axios for comment.

The details: The super PAC, Results for NC, is spending $310,000 to air its new anti-Cawthorn ad, according to a Friday filing with the Federal Election Commission.

  • "In perpetual pursuit of celebrity, Cawthorn will lie about anything," declares the spot, titled "Madison Cawthorn's Lies."
  • It accuses him of lying about being accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy, and quotes a local newspaper columnist calling him "an attention-seeking embarrassment."

Between the lines: Results for NC was created in 2013 by Tillis allies to back his initial Senate bid.

It spent another $900,000 to reelect him in 2020.

  • Tillis has endorsed Edwards, a state senator representing western North Carolina.
  • "Madison Cawthorn has fallen well short of the most basic standards Western North Carolina expects from their representatives, and voters now have several well-qualified candidates to choose from who would be a significant improvement," Tillis said last month.
  • Results for NC's website is now wholly devoted to promoting Edwards.

The big picture: Initially seen as a rising conservative star, Cawthorn, who is just 26, has drawn the ire of fellow Republicans over incendiary public remarks.

  • Most recently, he said in an interview that Republican colleagues in D.C. have invited him to orgies and done cocaine in front of him.

With reporting from Axios Raleigh's Lucille Sherman. Subscribe to the Axios Raleigh newsletter.

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