The North Carolina Board of Elections is weighing whether to remove Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn from the 2022 ballot over statements he made related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Board members revealed their thinking in a federal court filing that responds to Mr. Cawthorn’s lawsuit aiming to ban the board from hearing a constitutional challenge to his candidacy in the state’s 13th Congressional District.
Board members defended their role and indicated they are empowered to remove Mr. Cawthorn from the ballot under the 14th Amendment, which disqualifies candidates who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the U.S.
A group of voters is fighting to remove Mr. Cawthorn from the ballot, citing his speech at a rally that preceded the Jan. 6 riot where a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol to stop Congress’ certification of President Biden’s election victory. The anti-Cawthorn group also cites the remarks the lawmaker made about the validity of the 2020 presidential election results.
Mr. Cawthorn is among a group of GOP lawmakers whose phone records have been subpoenaed by a special Democratic-run House committee investigating the riot.
“This crowd has some fight in it,” Mr. Cawthorn said at the Jan. 6 rally that was hosted by President Trump. “The Democrats, with all the fraud they have done in this election, the Republicans hiding and not fighting, they are trying to silence your voice. Make no mistake about it, they do not want you to be heard.”
Mr. Cawthorn has called those arrested and charged in the riot “political hostages” and, in one instance, pledged to “bust them out.”
He defended his actions on Jan. 6 and said he worked to discourage the attack on the Capitol.
The North Carolina Board of Elections said they have the power to determine Mr. Cawthorn’s eligibility for the ballot this fall.
“The state has the authority to police which candidates should or should not be disqualified per section 3 of the 14th Amendment,” the board said.