Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn said he will change districts and run in the new 13th Congressional District, which runs from western Mecklenburg County up into the mountains.
Cawthorn currently represents the state’s western-most counties, from Rutherford County to the Tennessee border. After redistricting, there is a little overlap between the congressman’s old district and the new 13th.
“This move is not an abandonment. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It is a move to take more ground for constitutional conservatism,” Cawthorn said in a video released on Twitter Thursday evening. “In my heart, I represent North Carolina as a whole, not some arbitrary line that some politician drew this cycle.”
Cawthorn, the youngest member of Congress, has been a controversial figure in North Carolina politics. He’s modeled himself as a Trump loyalist and voted against certifying the election for President Joe Biden in January.
Cawthorn’s new district includes the western edge of Mecklenburg County and Gaston, Cleveland, Polk, Rutherford, McDowell and Burke counties. It’s seen as a safe Republican district for the 2022 elections.
The Republican-led General Assembly approved new redistricting maps in early November. Many have called the new maps partisan gerrymandering that will give the GOP an edge in next year’s congressional elections.
“The new maps have split my constituents. My house is almost directly on the line of separation from the 13th and 14th Congressional Districts and now half the counties in the new district are counties I currently represent,” Cawthorn said. “My people are split.”
The congressman said he’s confident that the new 14th District in western North Carolina will remain in Republican control.
“We have a unique opportunity to increase conservative leadership for North Carolina,” he said in the video.
But, he said, “Knowing the political realities of the 13th District, I’m afraid that another establishment go-along to get-along Republican will prevail there. I will not let that happen.”
There were rumors that North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, from Cleveland County, was considering a run for Congress next year. But in a statement Thursday evening, Moore said he plans to stay put.
“While much of the speculation about my potential congressional candidacy has been driven by the media and political pundits, I have been humbled by the folks in our region who expressed their wishes for me to represent them in Washington,” Moore said. “While I have given it consideration, right now I am focused on the issues at hand that impact all North Carolinians.”
“I will continue to fight for my constituents, and I will work for what the state needs now- a balanced budget that cuts taxes and invests in our critical needs during these challenging times. I look forward to serving with my colleagues as Speaker of the House of Representatives and securing a supermajority for the Republicans next year,” he said.