Anti-LGBTQ+ congressman Madison Cawthorn loses re-election bid after nude video leak

Madison Cawthorn seen with voters

North Carolina congressman Madison Cawthorn has lost his re-election bid after a video surfaced of him naked with another man.

Cawthorn, an anti-LGBTQ+ Republican and once the youngest freshman in Congress, was edged out of North Carolina’s 11th District on Tuesday (17 May) in the Republican primary.

He conceded defeat to Chuck Edwards, a three-term state senator, when his victory by just 1,500 votes in the Republican stronghold was called by The Associated Press.

“Congratulations to [Chuck Edwards] on securing the nomination tonight,” Cawthorn tweeted.

“It’s time for the NC-11 GOP to rally behind the Republican ticket to defeat the Democrats’ nominee this November.”

Once a rising star of the Republican Party and considered Donald Trump’s protégé, Madison Cawthorn, 26, spent much of his term grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons.

In early May footage emerged of him thrusting himself at another man’s face while naked. Critics labelled him a “hypocrite” for engaging in a simulated sex act with another man all while speaking out against LGBTQ+ rights.

Madison Cawthorn watches results from the North Carolina primary election. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“Years ago, in this video, I was being crass with a friend, trying to be funny. We were acting foolish and joking. That’s it. I’m NOT backing down,” he tweeted on 5 May.

A second video published around the same time showed one of Cawthorn’s cousins, who was also a member of his staff, grabbing his crotch.

Trump, however, was unimpressed. Sources close to Trump told Rolling Stone that the former GOP president described the videos as “disappointing” and had lost faith in him.

Among the other scandals – and there were many –  Cawthorn was charged twice with carrying a loaded firearm in an airport, accused of being sexually and verbally aggressive towards women and accused of insider trading.

He also lied about his biography, such as repeatedly claiming he was “training” for the Paralympic Games (he wasn’t).

Those he admires the most in Washington, he said in March, are the people who invited him to cocaine-fuelled orgies. The remark did not go down well with representative Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader.

LGBTQ+ voters will be relieved to see the back of Madison Cawthorn. He said LGBTQ+ rights should have ended with “two people who wanted to be able to get married” and that the “line” was crossed with healthcare for trans youth.

He has called on mothers to raise “monster” boys as society “de-masculates” men.

Even when he rebuffed a video of himself wearing lingerie, Cawthorn resorted to tired transphobia.

“My gender didn’t change when I put that stuff on,” he said in April. “And neither does anyone else’s.”