At just 25 years of age, Republican Madison Cawthorn will become one of the youngest elected officials in the history of the US Congress, after an acrimonious and controversial campaign.
According to almost definitive results, he won the 11th district of North Carolina on Tuesday with 54.5 percent of the vote against his Democratic rival, 62-year-old retired military officer Moe Davis.
Cawthorn, who has been in a wheelchair since an accident that paralyzed him when he was 18, is expected to become the youngest elected Congressman since William C.C. Claiborne, who was elected at age 22 in 1797, according to CNN.
Claiborne was three years younger than the constitutionally required age of 25 but the House of Representatives chose to seat him anyway.
Cawthorn is also four years younger than left-wing Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was 29 when she was elected in 2018.
“From the bottom of my heart, Thank you,” he told his supporters on Twitter. “All glory goes to God and I am excited to serve each and every member of this district,” added the Trump supporter, who was invited to speak at the Republican convention in August.
Cawthorn, who is pro-gun and anti-abortion, led an aggressive campaign against his opponent, branding him a stooge of Washington and accusing him of trampling on religious freedom.
But his rival was not to be outdone.
Voters “deserves better than a habitually lying sexual predator with zero qualifications,” Davis tweeted. “There’s no place in Congress for a degenerate like Madison Cawthorn.”
Among other things, Davis referred to accusations of inappropriate behavior with women, which Cawthorn denied.
Cawthorn also drew fire after an Instagram photo of him and his brother at “Eagle’s Nest,” one of Adolf Hitler’s vacation homes in Germany, surfaced.
“The vacation house of the Führer. Seeing the Eagles Nest has been on my bucket list for awhile, it did not disappoint.” he wrote in the caption — though he also referred to Hitler as “supreme evil.”
He defended himself by saying he was thinking of the joy of soldiers who defeated Hitler when he visited.
And he drew more criticism this week when, despite promising to heal divisions, he issued a smug tweet at his moment of victory.
“Cry more, lib(eral),” he wrote.