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North Carolina State Senator Chuck Edwards (R) is the lead primary challenger to Congressman Madison Cawthorn (NC-R).

After January 6th, Edwards came out railing against Cawthorn, and with the help and endorsement of U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC). Tillis has mounted many attacks on the freshman congressman, spending over $300,000 campaigning against him with his super PAC.

Edwards has been seated in the NC State Senate for the 48th district since 2016. He was appointed to the position in August of 2016 after the resignation of Tom Apodaca and has kept the seat in the following elections.

Edwards declared he would be running for North Carolina’s 11th congressional district at the end of November last year.

On January 6th of 2021, Edwards had this to say about the day’s events according to Citizen Times:

“North Carolina state Sen. Chuck Edwards stopped short, though, of criticizing President Donald Trump who continued to dispute election results at a rally earlier in the day and encouraged attendees to march to the Capitol.

Contacted by the Citizen Times, Edwards, who represents eastern Buncombe County, as well as Henderson and Transylvania counties, said, “It is past time for political leaders at every level to stop inflaming our differences, and to begin finding solutions.

Later that January, he then put out a tweet that indicated his intent to challenge Cawthorn as indicated by Democrat Biran Caskey’s reply.

Edwards shared, “There’s a right way and wrong way to conduct yourself as a legislator and I’m extremely concerned about Congressman Cawthorn’s conduct. As a legislator, I don’t need to be threatened to do the job the voters hired me to do.”

Caskey and many others saw the intent, “Seems pretty clear you’re gunning for Cawthorn’s seat in ‘22. But since you want to do your job, please expand health coverage and unemployment benefits. People are hurting and you are in a position to help. Thanks.”

Edwards’ tweet was in response to what Cawthorn said at a Turning Point USA event, “Call your congressman and feel free, you can lightly threaten them and say, you know what, if you don’t start supporting election integrity, I’m coming after you, Madison Cawthorn is coming after you, everybody’s coming after you.”

Edwards claimed he received hundreds of phone calls after Cawthorn’s statement calling for him to do something about election integrity. Edwards told ABC 13 News, “I don’t need to be threatened to do the job voters sent me to Raleigh to do.”

He then implied the calls were about election integrity in Pennsylvania saying, “Folks threatening to take my seat, insisting in a harsh way that maybe I’m not doing my job because I’m not trying to fix election integrity in Pennsylvania. My focus is on North Carolina.”

While Edwards continues to claim, that he supports election integrity, his voting record doesn’t always correlate with his words.

In 2019, Edwards voted for SB 214 which exempted the use of photo ID requirements at the then-upcoming election. Edwards over and over again has said that he was for ID requirements but voted for this exemption, which passed both the NC House and Senate as was signed by the Governor.

In 2018 Edwards along with all of the Senate Republicans voted to streamline early voting in North Carolina, this amendment was vetoed and overridden by the NC legislature.

Also in 2018, Edwards helped pass legislation that made criminal history reports of employees of the county board of elections confidential, thus hiding election officials’ criminal histories from the public.

Edwards is trying to walk a fine line between smearing Rep Cawthorn and his efforts to stand for election integrity publicly and making sure not to touch former President Donald Trump whom Cawthorn is supporting.

Edwards claims he supports “election integrity”, however, on his campaign website he fails to address it at all under his “Fighting the status quo” tab. This tab only addresses a few issues, but nothing about election integrity, something many if not most America First Republicans want to be addressed.

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