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Rep. Madison Cawthorn running in new congressional district, representing part of Mecklenburg County

In this photo provided by Cawthorn campaign staffer Patrick Sebastian, Madison Cawthorn speaks...
In this photo provided by Cawthorn campaign staffer Patrick Sebastian, Madison Cawthorn speaks to supporters, Tuesday, June 23, 2020, in Hendersonville, N.C. Cawthorn won Tuesday's Republican primary runoff for a western North Carolina congressional seat over President Donald Trump's endorsed candidate for the nomination. (Patrick Sebastian/Cawthorn Campaign via AP) (KY3)
Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 4:26 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP/WBTV) - Rep. Madison Cawthorn says he’ll run in a new congressional district under North Carolina’s newly approved map.

His Thursday night announcement to run in a redder district was a strategic move to thwart the chances of GOP state House Speaker Tim Moore.

Moore said shortly thereafter that he would seek reelection as the House leader and would not pursue a congressional run.

Cawthorn, 26, said in a Twitter video that he will be running for Congress in the 13th District, which serves part of Mecklenburg County.

“Knowing the political realities of the 13th district, I’m afraid that another establishment, go-along-to-get-along Republican would prevail there. I will not let that happen,” Cawthorn said in the video. “I will be running for Congress in the 13th congressional district.”

Looming over the March 2022 primary is a pair of lawsuits from voting rights groups accusing Republicans of partisan and racial gerrymandering.

If the congressional map holds up in court, Republicans would likely win 10 or 11 of the 14 districts up for grabs in the 2022 midterm elections.

Cawthorn doesn’t live in the newly formed 13th district stretching across the southwestern part of the state outside the city of Charlotte. He presently represents voters in the 11th, North Carolina’s westernmost district, where his Henderson County home would be in the 14th, one of three areas considered somewhat competitive for Democrats in 2022.

“This move is not an abandonment,” Cawthorn said to voters he will no longer represent. “In fact, quite the opposite. It is a move to take more ground for constitutional conservatism. In my heart, I represent North Carolina as a whole, not some arbitrary line that some politician drew this cycle.”

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