Voters in North Carolina formally filed a legal challenge to have Rep. Madison Cawthorn disqualified from running for a second term, citing his involvement in the event leading up to the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
According to reports, a group consisting of 11 voters from Cawthorn’s home state of North Carolina filed a legal challenge on Monday (Jan. 10) with the State Board of Elections.
The filing says that the remarks that the congressman made at a rally held before the insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election disqualify him from running for office according to the Constitution.
“As set forth in our complaint, the publicly available evidence, including Representative Cawthorn’s own statements and reports that he or his office coordinated with the January 6 organizers, establish reasonable suspicion that Representative Cawthorn aided the insurrection, thereby disqualifying him from federal office,” said Ron Fein, the legal director of Free Speech For People, the national campaign reform group backing the legal challenge.
“Over 245,000 patriots from Western North Carolina elected Congressman Cawthorn to serve them in Washington. A dozen activists who are comically misinterpreting and twisting the 14th amendment for political gain will not distract him from that service,” said Luke Ball, Cawthorn’s spokesperson in response to the challenge. Free Speech For People has confirmed that this is the first lawsuit of many they and other groups intend to file against those members of Congress that were associated with the insurrection.
The filing contends that Rep. Cawthorn’s comments directly violated the 14th Amendment, which states that no person can serve in Congress “who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress . . . to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.” Cawthorn formally filed to run for the seat of the newly created 13th District last month.
According to state law, he has to “show by a preponderance of the evidence” that he is qualified to run. The state board set up a meeting this Wednesday to create a five-member panel consisting of members from the counties in the 13th District to hear the challenge. Their ruling can be appealed by the state board and then an appeals court. The new district leans Republican, while the five-member state board has three Democrats on it.