Madison Cawthorn, a 24-year-old motivational speaker who won a GOP congressional primary runoff in North Carolina on Tuesday, said Wednesday he got a congratulatory call from President Trump even though Mr. Trump had endorsed his opponent.
“It was an honor getting a call from Air Force One,” Mr. Cawthorn said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“He was talking about how amazing a victory it was — he defined it as beautiful,” he said. “The president recognized that we ran a campaign that was very difficult to beat.”
With 100% of precincts reporting, Mr. Cawthorn had a 66% to 34% lead over Lynda Bennett, who was favored by both Mr. Trump and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Mr. Meadows vacated the seat to take his current job.
Mr. Cawthorn had said on Tuesday evening that he didn’t see the race as a referendum on Mr. Trump and that he supports the president.
“The people of western North Carolina are wise and discerning. You observed both candidates and simply made the choice you believed is best for our district,” he said.
Mr. Cawthorn, who turns 25 in August, will likely be the next member of Congress to represent the Republican-leaning 11th Congressional District, which touches the western border of the state.
Mr. Cawthorn, the head of a real estate investment company, was partially paralyzed in a 2014 car crash.
If elected, he would be the youngest member of Congress, edging out 30-year-old Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat.