The North Carolina native survived a life-altering car crash in 2014 and is engaged to be married

By Georgia Slater
June 24, 2020 02:12 PM
Madison Cawthorn
Rep. Madison Cawthorn
| Credit: Madison Cawthorn for Congress/Facebook

Madison Cawthorn, a 24-year-old businessman and North Carolina native, made headlines this week after winning the Republican primary runoff election for the state's 11th Congressional District, beating out a Donald Trump-backed candidate.

That victory means Cawthorn will face off against Democrat Moe Davis, a retired Air Force colonel, in November's election to see who replaces former Rep. Mark Meadows, who is now President Trump's chief of staff.

Winning Meadow's former seat, which has reliably voted Republican since 2012, would make Cawthorn the youngest person to serve in Congress in decades and one of the youngest members ever.

“Tonight, the voters of the 11th district of North Carolina said they’re ready for a new generation of leadership in Washington. You turned our message of hope, opportunity and freedom into a movement," Cawthorn said in a victory speech on Facebook.

Though both Trump and Meadows endorsed Cawthorn's opponent Lynda Bennett, Cawthorn spoke positively of the president. (The political news website Axios reported Trump called Cawthorn after his win.)

"I support our great president," he wrote in a statement. "I do not believe this election has been a referendum on the president’s influence. ... I look forward to fighting alongside our president after I’m elected in November."

Here are some key things to know about Cawthorn.

Madison Cawthorn
Madison Cawthorn
| Credit: Madison Cawthorn for Congress/Facebook

Cawthorn is a "constitutional conservative"

Cawthorn opposes abortion and prides himself on being "committed to defending the values of faith, family and the freedom that have made America great," according to his website.

His key issues on his website show he is also against government-backed medicine, tax increases and so-called "sanctuary cities," and he supports an increase in border security, a balanced budget amendment and congressional term limits.

An "owner of several firearms," he also supports the Second Amendment.

He was in a life-altering crash

In 2014, Cawthorn almost died in a car wreck and was partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair, according to his website. That same year, he was nominated by Meadows to attend the Naval Academy — before his plans were upended.

However, Cawthorn's accident "built his faith, made him a fighter, helped him appreciate every day, and inspired him to help everyone he encounters overcome whatever adversity they face in their daily lives," according to his website.

He'd be the youngest person in Congress

The Constitution requires that members of the House of Representatives be at least 25, which Cawthorn will reportedly turn in August.

If elected he will be the youngest person in Congress, claiming the current title from Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is 30 and was 29 when she was elected.

He works in real estate

Cawthorn is the owner and CEO of a real estate investment company, his website states.

He also works as a motivational speaker, where he "challenges people across the nation to have faith, work hard, play by the rules and pursue the American dream."

He grew up in Hendersonville, where he was homeschooled.

Madison Cawthorn
Madison Cawthorn
| Credit: Madison Cawthorn for Congress/Facebook

He is engaged and soon to be married

According to Cawthorn's Facebook, he is engaged and will soon marry Cristina Bayardelle.

"Man, I feel like that diamond was created just for her. So joy filled and in love," Cawthorn wrote of his proposal on Instagram in December.

Madison Cawthorn
From left: Cristina Bayardelle and Madison Cawthorn
| Credit: Cristina Bayardelle/Instagram

Bayardelle is studying to be an anesthesiologist, according to Cawthorn's latest Instagram post, in which he wrote she was "taking her state boards for anesthesia."

"She has studied 4-5 hours a day ever since I have known her; that diligence is going to pay off!" he wrote.

In his free time, Cawthorn also enjoys hunting, cooking, travel, fitness, photography & videography and studying history, according to his website. He also attends Biltmore Church in his hometown.