A Democratic LGBTQ activist launched a campaign Wednesday to challenge far-right Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn for the chance to represent North Carolina’s 11th District on Capitol Hill.
In her first video for the 2022 campaign, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara slammed Cawthorn for his role in the “Save America” rally held by former President Donald Trump directly before the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
“Some people will say a gay woman who’s a Christian minister just can’t get elected in the South,” she began. “I say an insurrectionist who flirts with Nazis and fires up a violent crowd to attack our democracy ― well, he shouldn’t get reelected anywhere.”
Beach-Ferrara is currently serving as a commissioner for Buncombe County, which contains Asheville. In her video, she emphasized working across the aisle to alleviate the opioid crisis.
Beach-Ferrara said Thursday via Twitter that her campaign has raised $100,000 since launching ― funds that will be essential in what is sure to be a difficult race. North Carolina’s 11th District, which covers the westernmost part of the state, previously elected former Republican Rep. Mark Meadows four times.
The district is set to be redrawn by the Republican-controlled state legislature before the election, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times.
Cawthorn emerged as a right-wing star during his 2020 campaign, sticking close to Trump even as he fanned the flames of conspiracy theories about winning the election against now-President Joe Biden.
“Wow, this crowd has some fight in it!” Cawthorn said from the stage on Jan. 6.
“The Democrats, with all the fraud they’ve done in this election ... they are trying to silence your voice,” Cawthorn said as members of Congress worked to formally certify Biden’s election victory. Afterward, Trump supporters marched from the rally straight to the U.S. Capitol, causing a scene of mayhem that left five people dead.
Cawthorn also sparked alarm after the insurrection when he revealed that he had been carrying a gun that day. It is unclear whether he carried the weapon onto the House floor, which is not allowed.
At 25, he is currently the youngest member of Congress and worked in real estate prior to his election last November.
Cawthorn was paralyzed from the waist down in a 2014 car accident ― but has been challenged on his version of the story of the crash by the friend who was there at the time.