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Stories about North Carolina

Candidate Madison Cawthorn’s key policy messages from his campaign

Madison Cawthorn, who defeated Lynda Bennett in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District Republican primary runoff Tuesday, filled out Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey.

Ballotpedia asks all federal, state, and local candidates to complete a survey so voters can discover what motivates them on political and personal levels.

Select responses from Cawthorn are below, with Ballotpedia’s questions in bold.

Who are you? Tell us about yourself.

“Madison Cawthorn is an 8th generation resident of North Carolina’s 11th district. His ancestors date back all the way to the Revolutionary war. Madison was nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2014. Unfortunately, his plans were derailed after he nearly died in a tragic automobile accident that left him partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair. Madisons accident built his faith, made him a fighter, helped him appreciate everyday, and inspired him to help everyone he encounters overcome whatever adversity they face in their daily lives.”

What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

“Supporting our American values of faith, family, and freedom and combating the rise of socialist sentiment in our culture.”

Cawthorn heads to the general election for a chance to replace former incumbent Mark Meadows (R), who did not seek re-election and resigned in March to become White House chief of staff. Heading into the runoff, the race was rated Safe/Solid Republican.

In 2018, 1,957 candidates completed a Candidate Connection survey. This number represents 6.9% of all 28,315 candidates Ballotpedia covered during that cycle. Out of the 1,957 respondents, 477 (24.4%) won their elections. To read more about Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey or if you are a candidate who would like to submit a survey, click here.

Visit Cawthorn’s profile on Ballotpedia to read all of his responses.

Additional Reading:



Cawthorn defeats Bennett in NC-11 Republican primary runoff

Madison Cawthorn defeated Lynda Bennett in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District Republican primary runoff Tuesday. With 60% of precincts reporting, Cawthorn had received 66% of the vote to Bennett’s 34%.
Former incumbent Mark Meadows (R) did not seek re-election and left office early to serve as White House chief of staff. Meadows, along with President Donald Trump, endorsed Bennett in the race. Cawthorn was endorsed by several former primary candidates, local sheriffs, and the Protect Freedom PAC.
Cawthorn described Bennett as the candidate picked by Washington D.C. insiders and said he could bring young people into the Republican Party. Cawthorn is 24 years old. He owns a real estate investment company and is a motivational speaker. He was paralyzed in a car accident at age 19.
Bennett emphasized her decades of experience in business. She owns a real estate company and served as vice chairwoman of the Haywood County Republican Party.
Bennett received 22.7% of the March 3 primary vote to Cawthorn’s 20.4%. Twelve candidates ran. The Mountaineer’s Kyle Perotti reported that “much of the territory Cawthorn claimed was only brought into the district after a three-judge panel approved the new Congressional district in December of last year.”


Primary runoff in North Carolina is June 23

The statewide primary runoff for North Carolina is on June 23, 2020. The primary was held March 3, 2020, and candidates needed more than 30% of the vote to advance to the general election. The primary runoff was originally scheduled for May 12, 2020, but was postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic. The filing deadline to run passed on December 20, 2019.

Candidates are running in a Republican primary runoff for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District. Lynda Bennett (R) and Madison Cawthorn (R) are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for November 3, 2020. Bennett received 22.7% of the Republican primary vote, and Cawthorn received 20.4%. No other North Carolina congressional seat advanced to a primary runoff.

South Carolina also scheduled its primary runoff election for June 23, but no congressional races advanced to a primary runoff.

Entering the 2020 election, North Carolina’s U.S. House delegation consists of three Democrats, nine Republicans, and one vacancy. The U.S. House has 233 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one Libertarian, and four vacancies. All 435 seats are up for election. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats.

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Three states release guidance for reopening schools

Officials in three states—California, Massachusetts, and North Carolina—released guidance for reopening schools for the 2020-2021 year. Schools in all three states have been closed to in-person instruction since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, schools in four states (Alabama, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming) have reopened to in-person instruction after closing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Three other states have announced they will reopen schools, and officials in four states have released guidance for reopening schools for the 2020-2021 academic year.


Burr steps down as Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) temporarily stepped down from the chairmanship of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, effective at the end of the day on May 15. Burr’s decision to resign was announced one day after the FBI served him a search warrant at his residence in Washington, D.C.

Burr is one of several U.S. senators under federal investigation for alleged insider trading leading up to the coronavirus pandemic. On March 19, 2020, ProPublica alleged that Burr, along with some other senators, traded stocks after receiving information in a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing related to the effect the coronavirus outbreak will have on the American economy. The allegations stated that Burr sold between $600,000 and $1,800,000 in stocks before the stock market dipped more than 30% due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the stock market.

Burr sold 33 stocks on March 13, 2020, many of which were shares in companies hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. He responded to allegations of wrongdoing saying he only relied on publicly available information to make the trades and requested they be reviewed by the Senate Ethics Committee.

On May 13, federal agents searched Burr’s home and took possession of his cell phone. Spokespersons from the FBI, Department of Justice, and Burr’s office all declined to comment on the recent events in the investigation.



Three stay-at-home orders set to expire tomorrow

Stay-at-home orders in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island are set to expire tomorrow. So far, 15 states that were previously under stay-at-home orders let those orders expire. Another seven states never implemented stay-at-home orders.

After these orders expire, the states with the next expiring orders are Arizona, Delaware, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, and Vermont on May 15.

Although the orders vary from state to state, they include at least two common elements: the closure or curtailment of nonessential businesses in the state and requiring all residents to stay home except for essential trips for supplies or outdoor exercise.


Illinois and North Carolina extend stay-at-home orders

On April 23, 2020, Illinois and North Carolina became the latest states to extend stay-at-home orders into May.

At a press conference, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced that he would extend the state’s stay-at-home order through May 30. The new order includes some modifications to the original stay-at-home order. Beginning May 1, anyone over the age of 2 will be required to wear a mask in public spaces unless medically unable to do so. Some businesses previously designated as nonessential, like greenhouses and nurseries, will be allowed to reopen, so long as they follow social distancing requirements.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced at a press conference that he would extend the state’s stay-at-home order through May 8. He did not announce any restrictions that would be modified or lifted while the order remained in effect, but did say the first phase of a proposed three-part reopening plan could happen as early May 9. Cooper said the state will need to meet certain benchmarks before that happens, however.

Ballotpedia is providing comprehensive coverage on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting America’s political and civic life. Our coverage includes how federal, state, and local governments are responding, and the effects those responses are having on campaigns and elections.



Alston appointed to Black’s seat in North Carolina House of Representatives

Attorney Vernetta Alston, a Democratic candidate running to represent District 29 in the North Carolina House of Representatives, has been appointed to the seat. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) appointed Alston on April 13 following the death of late representative MaryAnn Black in March.

Alston is an attorney who also served on the Durham City Council up until her appointment to the North Carolina House. She resigned from her municipal position to join the state legislature. The Democratic and Republican primaries for District 29 were canceled because fewer than two candidates filed to run in each race, meaning Alston is running unopposed for re-election to the seat in November.

As of April 2020, there have been 44 state legislative vacancies in 27 states. Twenty-one vacancies have been filled. Of those incumbents, all but five have filed to run for re-election in 2020. Two of the five have term end dates in 2023. Two more are in states whose filing deadlines for their seats have passed (North Carolina and Idaho), and one was just appointed this week in a state where the filing deadline has not yet passed (Vermont).

Additional reading:
MaryAnn Black
State legislative vacancies, 2020