Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn shutters his leadership PAC one day after losing his reelection bid

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Madison Cawthorn moves through a hallway while looking at the camera.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn shut down his leadership PAC less than a day after losing reelection.

  • The Making A Difference In Service to Our Nation only raised and spent a small amount.

  • But Cawthorn shutting it down could indicate he's looking to step away from politics for the moment.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn shuttered his political action committee less than a day after getting booted out of office in his primary election.

The Making A Difference In Service to Our Nation (or MADISON) leadership PAC filed a termination notice with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday after the freshman North Carolina Republican lost reelection to a second term.

The PAC wasn't very active, only raising $21,000 and spending $9,066 in the 2020 cycle, according to campaign finance filings.

But Cawthorn shutting it down altogether could indicate that he's also looking to wind down his political career — at least for the moment.

Leadership PACs give politicians and aspiring politicians leeway to raise and spend funds, including paying for travel expenses, before they officially declare a run for office. They also provide a potent vehicle for elected officials to boost their own influence and spend money supporting other candidates.

Such PACs, as OpenSecrets puts it, "are designed for two things: to make money and to make friends." And Cawthorn is now in short supply of both after experiencing a meteoric rise and equally fast downfall within the Republican Party.

Cawthorn, elected at just 25 years old, branded himself as the future of the GOP and had a star turn speaking at the Republican National Committee after getting elected in an upset primary win in 2020.

But a series of high-profile ethics problems, legal troubles, personal scandals, inflammatory comments, and claims about cocaine orgies in D.C. cost Cawthorn crucial support from his fellow Republicans both in Washington and at home in North Carolina.

Cawthorn, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, faced seven primary challengers on Tuesday but ultimately lost reelection to state Sen. Chuck Edwards, who had been endorsed by North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and key leaders in North Carolina's state legislature.

Cawthorn conceded the race to Edwards on Tuesday night, tweeting, "Congratulations to @ChuckEdwards4NC on securing the nomination tonight. It's time for the NC-11 GOP to rally behind the Republican ticket to defeat the Democrats' nominee this November."


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