UPDATED: Sept. 8, 2020
As election day comes upon us, it’s crunch time for voters to decide who they want to represent them. Voters need to know who aligns more with their standards and look past the soundbites they hear from news outlets, social media and attack ads. Candidate profiles are extremely vital to voters when making crucial decisions in local, state and federal elections.
Cawthorn is from Hendersonville and an 8th generation resident of the 11th Congressional District according to his campaign website. He received a full-ride ROTC scholarship as well as a nomination to the U.S. Naval Academy by former NC-11 Congressman Mark Meadows. As these plans were being made, he had a near-death experience in an automobile accident that has left him paralyzed in a wheelchair. He is currently the chief executive officer of a real estate investment company
- Believes we need patient freedom, choice, competition and price transparency in terms of health care.
- Says Congress is taking the steps to ensure the safety of our local businesses and personal health by including economic impact payments, increased unemployment assistance and small business paycheck protection loans.
- Wants to help President Trump drain the swamp and take the money out of politics by reapplying the Constitution’s enumerated powers, which limit the government’s interference in our lives.
- Believes Social Security should be protected from people who wish to deplete it with programs such as government-run, single-payer health care and the Green New Deal.
- Supports a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution and the reform of the IRS, EPA, HHS and DOE.
- Only believes in federal spending for infrastructure and national defense.
- Will make military strength one of his top congressional priorities and will give them the tools to achieve their goals.
- In regard to Israel, he supports the relocation of the U.S. Embassy and ensuring Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge.
- Stands against the Green New Deal and supports reforming the National Flood Insurance program.
Cawthorn has also called Davis and the Democrats racist.
“My opponent’s racist. White liberals are the most racist people I’ve ever met in my entire life,” said Cawthorn. “They define everything by race. They want people to be able to get into college with lower grades and lower school scores simply because they are African American. That’s insane. That is saying, ‘Hey, you know what? Don’t work so hard, because you’re African American, because you probably just can’t do it.’ Are you kidding me? That’s the most racist thing I’ve ever heard,” said Cawthorn for the Smoky Mountain News. Cawthorn said this as part of his response on the Asheville’s resolution exploring reparations for its Black community.
However, Cawthorn was accused of being a white nationalist after media outlets published a story based on a previous social media post. The post in question was his visit to Hitler’s bunker in Germany alongside the caption, “The vacation house of the Führer. Seeing the Eagles Nest has been on my bucket list for awhile, it did not disappoint. Strange to hear so many laughs and share such a good time with my brother where only 79 years ago a supreme evil shared laughs and good times with his compatriots.”
Although President Trump endorsed republican rival Lynda Bennett, his son Donald Trump Jr. has called Cawthorn a representation of a new generation of conservative leaders. Another notable endorsement was former NC-11 Congressional Candidate Jim Davis.
Despite not being backed by President Trump nor former seatholder and current chief of staff, Mark Meadows, Cawthorn spoke at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, Aug. 26. During his speech, he commanded the attention of young republicans and talked about how they are America’s future.
“In times of peril, young people have stepped up and saved this country, abroad and at home,” Cawthorn said.
He gained much social media traction from the event for lifting himself out of his wheelchair onto a walker and reciting “for our republic, for which I stand.” Cawthorn was partially paralyzed in 2014 after a car accident.
The RNC has not been his only reason for travel as of late. COVID-19 has not stopped him from getting out and meeting his constituents. According to Cawthorn’s Facebook, he has attended multiple events throughout the district including Sylva, Hendersonville, Murphy and Franklin. He also traveled outside of his district in July to visit a private border wall in Texas.
Other events seem to be virtual except a concert fundraiser that occurred on Aug. 30, a meet and greet in Burnsville on Sept. 5 and Mitchell County on Oct. 3.
According to the June 30, 2020 report, Cawthorn has spent a total of $683,301 and raised a sum of $802,641. The cash on hand was reported to be $164,340.
Morris “Moe” Davis was born and raised in Shelby, N.C. He is a graduate of Appalachian State and North Carolina Central School of Law. Davis is also a retired Air Force Colonel, Director of the Air Force Judiciary and former Chief Prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay. He had to resign his last post when he refused to use evidence obtained through torture according to his campaign website.
- Supports a public option for health care, including a buy-in to Medicare.
- Wants tuition assistance for students attending trade schools and all student loans transferred to the Department of Education and the loan rate would be capped at zero percent interest.
- Supports the extension and expansion of federal support for geothermal heating and cooling among other energy-efficient programs.
- Supports the increase of the maximum taxable earnings cap and indexing benefits to inflation, so seniors have no need to worry about their quality of living over time.
- Pro-choice in terms of abortion.
- Supports DACA and doesn’t agree that military men and women should be subject to deportation but does believe there should be a crackdown on employers hiring undocumented immigrants.
- Believes in marijuana legalization nationwide.
- In regard to guns, he wants mandatory universal background checks, red flag laws and enhanced requirements to purchase military-style assault weapons.
- Supports campaign finance reform to dismantle Citizens United.
- Wants to fight against the privatization of the VA.
- Supports the appropriation of $80 billion to bring broadband to WNC and other rural areas.
- Wants to end qualified immunity for police officers, create a federal model policing program, make lynching a federal hate crime and create a database to track the misconduct of police officers.
In response to Cawthorn calling him a racist, Davis responded and within his comments, said he supports reparations.
“Clearly, our history is one where you can’t deny the fact that we kidnapped people and brought them here to this country and treated them like we would treat cattle. They were bought and sold,” said Davis. “Their labor was largely responsible for building a lot of this country,” said Davis. “I think that the reparations bill that Asheville passed is just saying Asheville is going to try to treat everyone fairly and make sure that everybody gets an equal shot. If that makes me racist, then my opponent’s right — I must be a racist because I think everybody should be treated fairly.”
The resolution Davis is citing originated from Asheville’s City Council. The resolution discusses the racial divide in Asheville and America overall along with the racial injustices rooted in housing, employment, etc. It requests the state and the federal government to allocate money for reparations. Locally, it requests Asheville’s city manager to create an action plan of how to deal with these inequalities within the community.
Names that stand out on Davis’ list of endorsements include Gov. Roy Cooper and Sen. Tammy Duckworth.
According to Davis’ Facebook, he has not hosted as many in-person events. However, he does host conversations with his constituents weekly via Zoom. On Mondays, they occur at 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays. To register for the Zoom events, click here.
There are three scheduled virtual debates for the NC-11 candidates. The first two occur on Friday, Sept. 4 and Saturday, Sept. 5 and will start at 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 4 debate will take place at Western Carolina University’s Biltmore Park campus. Moderated by Cory Vaillancourt with Lenoir-Rhyne University Equity and Diversity Institute developer Aisha Adams, Mountain Xpress contributor Mark Barrett and longtime N.C. political reporter, radio host and podcaster Pete Kaliner. Topics will include international, state and urban issues.
Sept. 5 debate will take place at WCU’s Cullowhee campus. It will be moderated by Cory Vaillancourt with WCU political science and public affairs department head Chris Cooper, WCU professor of economics and director of WCU’s Center for the Study of Free Enterprise Edward Lopez and Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Topics include rural issues, native issues and education.
Both debates will be hosted by Blue Ridge Public Radio, Mountain Xpress and Smoky Mountain News. They will live-streamed on BRPR’s Facebook.
The third debate will be hosted by The Sylva Herald and will occur on Wednesday, Sept 9 at 7 p.m. It will take place at Southwestern Community College and moderated by Dr. Bucky Dann. Students of the community college will be providing questions. It will be broadcasted via Facebook and YouTube.
According to the same June 2020 data as Cawthorn, Davis has spent $220,438 and raised a total of $488,313. His reported cash on hand at the time amounted to $164,340.
Tamata Zwinak is on the ballot as a member of the Green Party while Tracey DeBruhl is running as a Libertarian. The primaries for these offices was canceled on March 3, 2020.
The story is written for the 2020 Election Coverage class.