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Closing of polls in North Carolina

People mark their ballots at a voting site during the primary election in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, May 17, 2022.

jonathan drake | Reuters

Polls closed Tuesday in the North Carolina primary election, where Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn hopes to weather a cascade of negative press to win her party’s nomination for a second term in Congress.

Voters in the state will also decide who will face off in one of the few races that will determine which party controls the US Senate next year. The Republican and Democratic primaries for the open state Senate seat were too early to call when polls closed at 7:30 p.m. ET, according to NBC News.

Cawthorn, who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is one of 13 members of the US House from North Carolina. His seat, which was previously held by former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, is a safe Republican neighborhood. Nonetheless, the legislature’s first-term re-election bid has become one of the most-watched primary races in the state, thanks to a wide array of scandals and missteps that have drawn heavy criticism, even from the from some Republicans.

Controversies swirling around Cawthorn include: making allegations about other lawmakers who use drugs and invite him to orgies; driving with a revoked licence; bring a loaded handgun to an airport; be monitored by ethics watchdogs for suspicion of possible insider trading related to a cryptocurrency meme; calling the Ukrainian president a “thug” amid an invasion by Russia; and others.

Sen. Thom Tillis, another Republican from North Carolina, backed State Sen. Chuck Edwards, Cawthorn’s main rival in the GOP primary.

If no candidate obtains more than 30% of the votes, the first two will go to a second round in July.

Trump defended Cawthorn in a social media post over the weekend.

“He’s made some stupid mistakes lately, which I don’t believe he’ll make again,” Trump said of Cawthorn, adding, “Let’s give Madison a second chance!”

Asked by NBC News about Trump’s message, Tillis replied, “Technically it’s the sixth or seventh chance.”

“He learned nothing from a mistake he made last year,” the senator said of Cawthorn.

Meanwhile, North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd is favored in the polls to win the Republican nomination to fill incumbent GOP Senator Richard Burr’s seat. Budd is backed by both Trump and the influential conservative group Club for Growth.

This develops news. Please check for updates.


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