Raleigh, NC ( Associated Press) — A group of North Carolina voters on Monday urged state officials to disqualify U.S. Representative Madison Cawthorne as a congressional candidate for her participation in a rally in Washington last January. which had questioned the outcome of the presidential election and preceded the Capitol riot.
Cawthorne’s office immediately condemns candidacy challenge, filed on behalf of 11 voters before the State Election Board, which oversees the verification of candidates’ eligibility. Voters argue that the Republican Cawthorne, who formally filed as a candidate for the 13th district seat last month, cannot run because he failed to comply with an amendment to the US Constitution shortly after the Civil War.
The 14th Amendment states that no one may serve in Congress “whoever was previously sworn in as a member of Congress . . . to support the Constitution of the United States of America, shall indulge in rebellion or rebellion against him.” “
The written challenge stated that the events of January 6, 2021 “amount to a rebellion” and that information in Kawthorne’s speech, his other comments and published reports at a rally supporting then-President Donald Trump would give a “reasonable suspicion or belief”. which he helped facilitate the rebellion.
“Oath-breakers in future office cannot be relied upon to uphold the importance of protecting a foundational constitutional principle,” said Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech for People, a national election and campaign finance reform group. the challenge.
He told The Associated Press that the Cawthorne challenge would be the first of several people in his group intend to file against other members of Congress linked to the rebellion. Free Speech for People and the Group Our Revolution announced last week that it would urge state election administrators to bar Trump and members of Congress from appearing in future ballots.
The “leading national precedent” for such cases was created in 1869 by the North Carolina Supreme Court, which defined the meaning of “append to” when it comes to an act of rebellion or disqualification under the 14th Amendment.
State law says that Cawthorne has the burden of “showing from a prominent piece of evidence” that he is qualified to run.
In response, Cawthorne spokesman Luke Ball reported that “more than 245,000 Patriots from western North Carolina chose Congressman Cawthorne for his service in Washington”—a reference to his November 2020 victory in the current 11th District.
“Now a dozen activists who are grossly misinterpreting and twisting the 14th Amendment for political gain will not deviate from that service,” Ball wrote in an email.
The state board scheduled a meeting Wednesday to form a five-member panel, or panels, from counties within the proposed 13th district needed to hear the challenge. The decision of such a panel can be appealed to the State Board and subsequently to the Court of Appeal. Three of the five state board members are Democrats.
Cawthorne, 26, became the youngest member of Congress since the November 2020 election in the Far West 11th District. A social media favorite of a Trump supporter, he plans to run in a new congressional district that appears to be friendlier to Republicans. He formally filed candidacy papers with the State Board of Elections last month, just before the filing, while redistribution lawsuits were pending.
The 11 voters, identified in paperwork filed with the board, are from four counties within the new 13th district, which stretches from the state foothills east to parts of Charlotte.
Speaking at the “Save America Rally” on the morning of the riots, days after he was sworn in in Congress, Cawthorne said, “There’s some fighting in the crowd.”
“Democrats, with all the fraud that has been committed in this election, Republicans are hiding and not fighting, they are trying to silence your voice,” he said. “Make no mistake about it, they don’t want you to be heard.”
Cawthorne voted against certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory, though he later signed a letter with other GOP members of Congress congratulating Biden. Cawthorne has said that it was his constitutional duty to vote against him., He condemned the Capitol violence, but compared it to protests against police brutality in the summer of 2020. Nevertheless, last summer Cawthorne warned North Carolinians His claim about a possible “bloodbath” in future elections “could continue,” and questioned whether Biden was “dutifully elected.”
The challengers also asked the board to let them question Cawthorne under oath, before the regional panel convenes, and to call him and others to obtain the documents.
One challenger, identified as Jay Walsh of Morganton, is a registered unaffiliated voter. He said in a news release that while serving in the Navy, he took the same oath to protect the Constitution as members of Congress do. He accused some of them of “destroying the democracy they swore to defend. Madison Cawthorne’s actions are harming our country and eroding our freedoms.”