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A record 6 challengers seek to unseat Cawthorn
Sunday, 02 May 2021 13:52

From Staff Reports

With 19 months remaining before the election, U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-Hendersonville, is facing a record number of potential election challengers, with six known opponents as of the Daily Planet’s noon April 27 news deadline.

Regarding Cawthorn’s challengers, the Asheville Citizen TImes on April 19 ran a story headlined, “‘Polarizing’ Republican Rep. Cawthorn faces historic number of challengers 19 months before election.”

In its story, the ACT stated that the record is a result, according to political experts, “of his polarizing positions and rifts left by former President Donald Trump.

“As of April 19, five Democrats and one Republican had filed to unseat Cawthorn. 

“That is the largest challenger field any 11th District incumbent has seen at this point in an election, according to 20 years of state elections records,” the ACT stated.

Meanwhile, Cawthorn’s press secretary, Micah Bock, responded to an email inquiry from the Daily Planet on the congressman’s plethora of challengers as follows:

 “We’ll be addressing potential challengers closer to the election. Right now, we’re focused on working for the people of NC-11.”

All of Cawthorn’s challengers are Democrats, except for Republican Wendy Nevarez.

Neverez, who filed since the last edition of the Daily Planet, is a U.S. Navy veteran and legal assistant from Asheville. 

If elected to Congress, her focus will be on affordable, sustainable housing, broadband infrastructure — and a willingness to cross party lines to votes for important issues, along the lines of the Violence Against Women Act and the American Rescue Plan. (Cawthorn voted against both bills.)

The ACT reported that “Nevarez said on April 15 that “she decided to run in the GOP primary against Cawthorn because she feels the district has been ‘underrepresented,’ and she imagines so many Democrats have come out because they feel the same. ‘A representative has to be neutral regardless of the party they’re associated with. They have to be able to hear all of their constituents. 

“‘(Cawthorn) will vote, even if it’s best for his constituents, against it out of principle because it’s a Democrat that proposed it. With all due respect, that’s something I would expect out of my very small children,” she was quoted by the ACT as saying. “He likes to say ‘America first,’ but it’s ‘people first’” — or should be.

Two other challengers — both Democrats — coming forward since the last edition of the Daily Planet are Jay Carey of Hendersonville and Katie Dean of Asheville, the latter of whom has created a campaign committee, but has yet to formally announce her candidacy.

In his announcement at an April 15 event at Henderson County’s historic courthouse, Carey said his time in the U.S. Army gave him nation-building experience. 

Also Carey said his votes would be representative of his constituents instead of big money, lobbyists and political insiders.  

“Carey said Cawthorn had ‘done nothing to help put food on the table or improve the lives of Western North Carolinians,” the ACT reported. “I want people to know there are better options. I’m running because for too long, the decent, hardworking people of Western North Carolina have been left behind.”

Previously announced Democratic candidates, who will compete in their own party primary, include two ministers — Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, who is also a nationally known LBGTQ activist, and elementary school principal Eric Gash, “a Hendersonville High School football standout and the lone black candidate in a district that is 90 percent white,” the ACT noted.

The race also includes one other U.S, Army combat veterans (besides Carey) — Josh Remillard of Mills River.

“Carey, Gash and Remillard are from Cawthorn’s home county of Henderson, a Republican powerhouse that is key to victory in the GOP-leaning district,” the ACT reported. “This 11th District candidate field is the largest seen in 20 years — at this point in the election.”



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