Madison Cawthorn just can’t get out of his own way. The North Carolina congressman has been in office for just a little over a year now and has already become a household name, and most definitely not for any good reasons—unless you count setting a record for most votes missed by a newbie congressperson to be a positive. After 13 months of nothing but damning lies, conspiracy theories, siding with insurrectionists, fighting with fellow lawmakers, and marrying (then quickly divorcing) a woman who might very well be a Russian spy, the state of North Carolina has had enough of Cawthorn. And now he’s apparently had enough of them, too.
Given his already-polarizing tenure, a group of North Carolinians have been pressuring state officials over the legitimacy of Cawthorn’s ability to run for a second term in office. As the AP reports, they’ve pointed to many ways in which the 26-year-old has violated the 14th Amendment, which states that no one “who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.”
As Politico reports, Cawthorn—perhaps not thinking all that clearly about the optics of it all—decided that the best way to respond to these voters (a.k.a. his constituents) would be to [checks note] sue the state! On January 10th, nearly a dozen voters filed a formal challenge to Cawthorn’s candidacy for reelection.
As Politico writes:
Cawthorn’s lawsuit, filed on Monday, denies that he participated in an “insurrection or rebellion” and maintains he is eligible to run for office under state law. The lawsuit also disputes the assertion that under the 14th Amendment he is ineligible for candidacy because of his involvement in a Jan. 6 rally.
“Running for political office is quintessential First Amendment activity and afforded great protection,” Cawthorn’s lawsuit read.
Suing the state you hope to continue representing is certainly an unusual political tactic. Only time will tell how it works out for him.