Nov. 4 (UPI) — Republican Madison Cawthorn, 25, will become the youngest member of Congress when he takes office in January.
Cawthorn claimed the seat in North Carolina’s 11th District left open by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Tuesday night, earning 54% of the vote over his Democratic opponent Moe Davis, who claimed 42% of the vote, according to the state board of elections and projections by The New York Times and Fox News.
“Tonight, the voters of Western North Carolina chose to stand for freedom and a new generation of leadership in Washington,” Cawthorn said in a prepared victory statement.
He also tweeted, “Cry more, lib,” shortly after declaring victory.
Cawthorn was left paralyzed and uses a wheelchair after a nearly fatal car accident.
During his campaign, Cawthorn faced accusations of sexual misconduct and White supremacist beliefs due to a photo he posted on Instagram in 2017 as he visited a country home in Germany used by Adolf Hitler and other Nazi officials, saying the trip was “on my bucket list for awhile.”
Cawthorn later said he wanted to visit the site because U.S. soldiers celebrated the Allies’ victory after World War II there.
Democrat Deborah Ross flipped North Carolina’s 2nd District, defeating Republican Alan Swain to claim the seat vacated by retired Republican Rep. George Holding.
Ross, a civil rights lawyer and former state representative, won 63% of the vote to Swain’s 34%, according to the state board of elections, as well as projections by The New York Times and Politico.
In Florida, Republican Maria Elvira Salazar defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala, winning 51% of the vote to Shalala’s 48%, according to projections by The New York Times, Fox News and Politico.
“I will not be silenced,” Salazar said in her victory speech. “I will not cower to the mob and when faced with the so-called democratic socialists, I will tell them that we have seen the dogma in action already and it doesn’t work.”
Shalala did not concede defeat before Salazar declared victory, as her campaign manager Raul Martinez said they “are going to wait it out.”
Voters cast ballots to fill seven empty seats in the House of Representatives as Democrats seek to maintain control of the chamber.
Democrats came into election night with a 34-seat majority (232 to 198) as some tight races saw incumbents look to hold onto the seats while some challengers sought to expand the Democratic lead, while Republicans would require a net gain of 17 seats to flip the chamber.
In Georgia’s 7th District, Republican Richard McCormick and Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux are vying for the seat left vacant after Republican Rep. Rob Woodall said last year he wouldn’t run again.
Bourdeaux was the Democratic candidate in 2018, but lost to Woodall by just 400 votes. She now has the endorsement of the House Freedom Caucus and an edge in fundraising.
With some 94% of the vote counted, Bourdeaux had a narrow lead of 51.2% over McCormick’s 48.8%.
Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones and Republican Tony Gonzales are battling to fill an empty seat in Texas’ 23rd District, where Republican Rep. Will Hurd chose not to run this year.
Both candidates are former service members: Gonzales in the U.S. Navy and Jones the U.S. Air Force.
Gonzales held a slight lead of 50.1% to Jones’ 47.1% with 99% of the ballots tabulated.
Democrat Christina Hale is seeking to flip a seat in Indiana’s 5th District left open by Republican Susan Brooks, in her race against Republican Victoria Spartz, who is considered to lean further right than Brooks.
It was the final seat undecided in the state early Wednesday, with Spartz’s earning 51.7% of the vote to Hale’s 44.2% with some 10% of the vote remaining to be counted.
Democrats seeking new ground
Democratic challenger Hirai Tipireni looks to flip Arizona’s 6th district by defeating Republican incumbent David Schweikert.
Schweikert received an official reprimand from the House this summer after admitting to 11 ethics violations.
First-term Republican Rep. Mike Garcia faces a rematch with Democrat Christy Smith after they went head to head in May in a special election to finish out the term in California’s 25th Congressional District after Rep. Katie Hill left the seat.
Republican Rep. John Katko will also face a familiar opponent in Democrat Dana Balter, as he looks to defend New York’s 24th District.
Opportunities for Republicans
Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small looks to defend New Mexico’s 2nd district from Republican challenger Yvette Herrell.
Rep. Kendra Horn, who won Oklahoma’s 5th District for Democrats in 2018, faces a tight challenge from Republican Stephani Bice.
Democrats also hope Rep. Joe Cunningham can hold on to South Carolina’s 1st District in a race against Republican challenger Nancy Mace after flipping the seat last year.