Congressman Madison Cawthorn Joins House Freedom Caucus

10/28/2021, 2:36 PM EDT | SCOOP

The House Freedom Caucus is adding a new — but well-known — firebrand to its ranks: Freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn. 

Members of the group say the first-term North Carolina congressman has proven himself. 

 

Why they're admitting him: While it is less common to see the House Freedom Caucus add new members in the middle of a congressional term, members of the ultra-conservative group tell POLITICO that they decided to admit the North Carolina Republican after closely watching his voting record and evaluating how he leaned on certain “tough” votes.

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), an HFC member, said the group has to be careful about admitting new members in the minority, where it is much easier to cast a vote than in the majority. But Cawthorn, he said, has “proven himself.”

“Liberty and freedom must be defended in the People’s House by patriots who are unafraid to challenge the status quo and stand for what is right ... Although I have only been in Washington for a short period of time, I have learned that the fighters must stand together and defend America.”

— Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) in a statement

The freshman and the former: Cawthorn is joining a group established in part by former Rep. Mark Meadows, the former occupant of Cawthorn's North Carolina seat, though Meadows did not initially support his successor. Instead, Meadows worked to get a friend — real estate agent and GOP activist Lynda Bennett — elected to the seat after he left Congress to serve as Donald Trump’s chief of staff.

While the relationship started off bumpy, sources say it has since flourished. And Meadows continues to exert major influence over the group as he works at the Conservative Partnership Institute, where the HFC holds its meetings.

Why the group matters: The conservative group is well known for flexing its power of numbers — particularly in the majority — to get its party’s leadership to move further right on key issues.

— Olivia Beavers