Republican U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn “has been radicalized by extremists” and is now “radicalizing others,” says a new ad from the lesbian Democrat seeking to unseat him in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District next year.
The hard-hitting ad from the Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara juxtaposes her words about Cawthorn with images of a Nazi march and Confederate flags, and Cawthorn himself brandishing guns and addressing the infamous January 6 “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol, with supporters of Donald Trump attempting to keep Joe Biden from being certified as the winner of the presidential election.
“Madison Cawthorn exhibits the signs of a young man who has been radicalized by extremists and is now — dangerously — radicalizing others,” Beach-Ferrara says in the ad.
Cawthorn was elected to the U.S. House in 2020 after presenting himself as someone who could ease the partisan divide, the spot observes, but transitioned from that to “stoking insurrectionists” at the rally. He initially criticized the Capitol rioters but now says those who were arrested are “political prisoners.” He has continued to claim the presidential election was rigged against Trump and said that if elections continue to be “rigged” or “stolen,” it will lead to “bloodshed,” and the commercial includes video of him saying just that.
Beach-Ferrara promises that she won’t be “confronting hate with hate” but with “love of neighbor, love of community, and love of country.” The reference to community shows people carrying Pride flags.
Beach-Ferrara is a minister in the United Church of Christ, which has long been supportive of LGBTQ+ rights, and is executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, a North Carolina-based organization that promotes LGBTQ+ equality across the South. She is also a member of the Board of Commissioners. She is one of several Democrats seeking the party’s nomination in the 11th District, and Cawthorn has some challengers in next year’s Republican primary.
Cawthorn succeeded another Trump loyalist, Mark Meadows, in the 11th District seat. Meadows left to become chief of staff in the Trump White House and has now been subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.
Cawthorn has taken many far-right positions; his recent tweets have called abortion murder, termed Dr. Anthony Fauci a “failure,” and likened vaccine mandates to racial segregation. He has been accused of being sexually aggressive and misogynistic during his college years, with allegations he has touched women inappropriately; he has denied all this. He returned to Congress this week after having been out for a few days due to medical complications from a 2014 car accident that left him partially paralyzed.