U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn responds to lingerie photos

The western North Carolina congressman called the pictures "goofy vacation photos" taken well before he decided to run for Congress

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Bryan Anderson, WRAL state government reporter
Cory Dinkel, multiplatform producer

North Carolina U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn responded Friday to photos circulating online apparently showing him wearing lingerie and drinking from a wine glass.

The congressman from western North Carolina called the pictures “goofy vacation photos” taken well before he decided to run for Congress.

Cawthorn on Twitter appeared to acknowledge the veracity of the photos, suggesting the images that were first reported by Politico came from a game he participated in during a cruise trip.

Cawthorn further made light of the photos by asking for followers to share their own embarrassing vacation photos.

A spokesman for Cawthorn didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

In his tweet, the 26-year-old congressman implied that the images were an attempt to hurt him.

Cawthorn is seeking reelection in North Carolina's westernmost district. He's been the target of opposition groups and opponents looking to unseat the first-term congressman who has the backing of former President Donald Trump.

He is running against seven GOP opponents, with state Sen. Chuck Edwards posing the most formidable challenge on the ideologically centered lane, while local GOP official Michele Woodhouse challenges Cawthorn from the right.

In the past two months, Cawthorn has come under fire for videos showing him being pulled over by police for speeding, calling Ukraine's president a "thug," and making a highly questionable claim that he was invited by older Republican colleagues to an orgy.

U.S. Sen Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Republican state Senate leader Phil Berger and state House Speaker Tim Moore, also a Republican, are among North Carolina's top elected officials opposing Cawthorn's run and instead supporting Edwards.

It's unusual for a sitting member of Congress to have strong opposition within their own party during primaries.

If no candidate gets over 30% of the vote in the May 17 primary, the two highest vote-getters would square off in a July runoff.


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