N.C.'s Madison Cawthorn becomes first person born in the 1990s to be elected to Congress

N.C.'s Madison Cawthorn becomes first person born in the 1990s to be elected to Congress
Madison Cawthorn becomes first person born in the 1990s to be elected to Congress (Source: CBS News)

(CBS News) - North Carolina Republican Madison Cawthorn has been elected to Congress, making history as the youngest member in modern history and the first to be born in the 1990s.

The 25-year-old newcomer claimed victory late Tuesday, and CBS News projects him to win with 99% of votes already counted. He joined “Fox and Friends” Wednesday morning to discuss the results.

“I believe it’s time for a new Republican Party to rise,” Cawthorn said. “I don’t think we just need to have a bigger tent, I genuinely believe we need a bolder tent. I think the Republicans for too long have acted in timidity in issues where we should be leading.”

Cawthorne, a real estate investment CEO and motivational speaker, told Fox News that his priorities in Washington will be pushing for a more market-driven health care system and healing the partisan divide — although he is no stranger to partisan rhetoric himself. Cawthorn ran on a platform embracing religious freedom and border security and opposing abortion and what he deems socialized medicine.

He named another millennial lawmaker — his ideological nemesis, New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — as a motivation for running, decrying her as a leader of the “radical left-wing mob.” He replaces her in the history books as the youngest member elected to Congress in modern history. (Despite not meeting the constitutional age requirement of 25 for the U.S. House of Representatives, the youngest member ever elected was 22-year-old William Cole Claiborne of Tennessee in 1797.)

Cawthorne was partially paralyzed in an automobile accident in 2014 and credits the life-changing event with strengthening his faith and perseverance. One of Cawthorn’s signature moments during his campaign happened at the Republican National Convention when he stood up from his wheelchair for the end of his speech.

He is also a controversial figure. Before winning the vote, Cawthorn tweeted Tuesday, “Cry more, lib,” as a shot to liberals. He was accused of being “racist” by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker after Cawthorn’s website accused Booker of trying to “ruin white males running for office.” He said in a statement it was a “syntax error” that was meant to criticize “left-wing identity politics.”

Cawthorn was also criticized for visiting Adolf Hitler’s vacation home in Austria in 2017, saying it had been “on my bucket list for awhile.” He called it a “fake news controversy.”

Cawthorn won his party’s nomination after beating an opponent who was endorsed by President Donald Trump. He will fill the seat formerly held by Mark Meadows, who is now serving as Mr. Trump’s White House chief of staff.

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