Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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LGBTQ+ Reverend to Run Against Far-Right Rep. Madison Cawthorn

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Madison Cawthorn

North Carolina is set for quite an exciting congressional run next year when LGBTQ+ activist Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara of Asheville will challenge far-right hatemonger Madison Cawthorn for his 11th District congressional seat.

“Some people will say a gay woman who’s a Christian minister just can’t get elected in the South,” Beach-Ferrara said in a campaign video. “Not to mention, she’s a Democrat. Well I say an insurrectionist who flirts with Nazis, fires up a violent crowd to attack our democracy, well he shouldn’t get reelected anywhere.”

Beach-Ferrara was elected to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners starting in 2012, and also led demonstrations for marriage equality throughout the South with her organization the Campaign for Southern Equality, which filed an amicus brief in the 2015 Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage.

In her time on the Board of Commissioners, she pushed for early childhood education, treatment over prosecution for those addicted to opioids, and a ban on conversion therapy.

Cawthorn was just elected last year, and is the youngest member of Congress at 25, but he already has made national news for his invoking of Trump, far-right stances, and claims of election fraud.

He even made a speech at the infamous “Stop the steal” rally in Washington , D.C. on January 6, which led to a violent riot and attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In his speech, he told the angry crowd that it had “some fight in it,” and afterwards said he didn’t regret speaking at the rally.

More recently, Cawthorn has come under fire from former classmates at Patrick Henry College in Virginia, who say that he was aggressive and misogynistic toward women and even touched some of them inappropriately. They allege he would take vulnerable women on drives where he would ask increasingly uncomfortable sexual questions and making increasingly inappropriate advances. Cawthorn has denied the allegations, saying “I have never done anything sexually inappropriate in my life.”

The race will be a tough one for Beach-Ferrara. She faces not only an incumbent who beat his opponent by 12 points, but also the district will be redrawn by a Republican-dominated general assembly before the race.

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