Madison Cawthorn would hate to have to pick up a gun and shoot people. But, you know, election security is just that serious. 

The freshman GOP lawmaker from North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District said as much during a Macon County Republican Party event Sunday in Franklin, in which he peddled the same, tired, right-wing conspiracy theory about U.S. elections being “rigged.” 

He went a step further, though, suggesting people will die if it doesn’t stop.  

“If our election systems continue to be rigged and continue to be stolen, then it’s going to lead to one place—and it’s bloodshed,” Cawthorn told the crowd.

Hell, he might even help shed that blood. 

“I will tell you, as much as I am willing to defend our liberty at all costs, there is nothing that I would dread doing more than having to pick up arms against a fellow American. And the way that we can have recourse against that is if we all passionately demand that we have election security in all 50 states,” he said, reportedly to applause. 

Cawthorn made the remarks not long after he was photographed signing a shotgun awarded to a lucky raffle winner.

This is all nonsense, of course. There’s no evidence of systemic election fraud. And Cawthorn’s not shooting anyone.

But Cawthorn grabbed headlines again—and let’s be real, that’s all he wants.

Cawthorn raised $1.7 million in political donations during the first six months of 2021—by far the most among the state’s 13-member House delegation. Nearly 80 percent of that money came from donors who live outside of North Carolina.

He raised $77,000 from donors inside his district. 

Like Trump, Cawthorn’s playing with fire. And like Trump, it’s clear he doesn’t care—not with all that money rolling in. 

You can watch video of Cawthorn’s remarks in their entirety here, starting at around 35:30. 


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Follow Managing Editor Geoff West on Twitter or send an email to gwest@indyweek.com.