FRANKLIN, North Carolina — One by one, Republican voters in this lush mountain community emerged from casting an early ballot ahead of May 17’s crucial 11th Congressional District primary and revealed they had pulled their support for Rep. Madison Cawthorn.
In several interviews, here and across this conservative, western North Carolina seat, disappointment with Cawthorn was palpable, and not simply because of the cascade of the ethical cloud and embarrassing headlines dogging the congressman’s first reelection bid. Republicans supported Cawthorn two years ago with hope for what a charismatic 26-year-old might accomplish, for their district and the country. Today, they lament a firebrand who they have concluded picked political fame over doing the work.
“I’m very conservative, and I