Madison Cawthorn may have lost more than $500,000 in his failed re-election bid

Among a slew of eye-watering expenses: $500 for Chick-Fil-A, per The Daily Beast.

Hendersonville, NC - May 17 : Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., watches results from the North Carolina...
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With just months to go until his one and only term in Congress is set to end, North Carolina Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn is closing out his time in office much like it began — under a cloud of shady, self-serving confusion.

According to federal finance filings analyzed by The Daily Beast, Cawthorn is hundreds of thousands of dollars in the red, after personally dumping more than $800,000 into his own campaign and only recouping around a third of that amount. All told, Cawthorn is out more than half a million bucks, per the filings, with nothing to show for it but a failed re-election bid and a reputation in tatters.

Per The Daily Beast’s calculations, Cawthorn has invested $817,000 of his own money into his congressional campaigns since 2019, making back just over $260,000 of that amount — a clear encapsulation of his broader financial troubles, which saw him burning through millions of dollars of campaign cash at whiplash-inducing speeds. As the Raleigh-based News & Observer noted this week:

In 18 days, he spent $529.15 at a Chick-Fil-A in Arlington, Virginia. In an overlapping 20-day period, he spent around $600 at Papa’s & Beer restaurant in Hendersonville. But neither can top the $1,814 spent at Casablanca Tobacconist, a store in Hendersonville that sells spirits, wine, beer, and cigars.

Cawthorn has also been slow and unreliable in his various FEC filings, including having to amend his most recent documentation just this week to include a nearly quarter-of-a-million-dollar donation he personally gave to his campaign coffers, which was left off a filing submitted just days earlier — a filing, it should be noted, which was itself weeks late.

While Cawthorn himself is likely in a position to be able to swallow his $500,000 loss of cash pumped into the race (he earned a $3 million settlement stemming from the accident that paralyzed him from the waist down), his campaign itself is down to just $1,504 as of the end of June, The Daily Beast found. And while a failed campaign having little cash left might seem unremarkable, consider that Liz Cheney — another Republican member of Congress who lost their primary bid for re-election — ended her race with millions of dollars left unspent, which she then transformed into a political action committee just hours after conceding.

While it’s unlikely that this is the last we’ll ever see of Cawthorn — MAGA casualties of his ilk have a nasty habit of sticking around — I suspect that his turn in electoral politics specifically is truly and definitively dead. The only question I have now is: What sort of low-grade grift will he attach himself to next?