Cawthorn ‘likely’ violated rules by bringing candidate on House floor

First-year Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) brought a GOP congressional candidate onto the House floor Tuesday night, likely in violation of House rules, Republican and Democratic sources said.

Cawthorn was able to do so by telling House security that his guest, Tennessee Republican Robby Starbuck, was one of his House staffers, according to a source familiar with the situation.

“For a candidate for Congress to walk around on the floor and talk to people, I found it to be very bizarre,” one GOP lawmaker told The Hill. 

It’s a violation of House rules “without a doubt,” the GOP lawmaker said, unless the House sergeant-at-arms for some reason gave Cawthorn special permission.

A senior Democratic aide said the scenario described is “likely a violation” of House Rule IV.

Rule IV states that a limited number of people can set foot inside the House chamber, known as the Hall of the House. They include past and current members, presidents and vice presidents, Cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, and House staffers who have business on the floor.

Cawthorn declined to comment Wednesday night, saying he did not do hallway interviews; Starbuck did not return a request for comment. 

The office of the sergeant-at-arms, which oversees House security, had no immediate comment.

It’s unclear if there will be a penalty or fine for Cawthorn, a vocal Donald Trump ally who at 26 is one of the youngest members of Congress in history.  

Other Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), have been hit with tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of fines this year for avoiding metal detectors before stepping on the House floor or refusing to wear masks on the floor due to the pandemic.   

The Cawthorn story came amid a flurry of North Carolina political news on Wednesday, two days after the candidate filing began in the Tarheel State for the 2022 cycle. 

Former Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), who was defeated in a 2016 GOP primary, said she would seek a political comeback in 2022, launching her bid for the 4th Congressional District. 

“For the past 18 months I’ve been on the frontlines fighting COVID,” tweeted Ellmers, a nurse. “Now I am honored to be officially running for Congress to fight for the good people of NC’s 4th district where I live & work. I will file this Friday. #MakeAmericaGreat #Trump”

Moments later, North Carolina Republican Bo Hines, a former Yale football player, emerged from the office of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy(Calif.) after a meeting with the top Republican. Also 26 years old, Hines had no comment to reporters. He is running in North Carolina’s 7th District but could switch to the 4th District and face Ellmers in the GOP primary.

Another North Carolina Republican happened to be on the Hill on Wednesday. Former Rep. Mark Walker, former chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), caught up with old colleagues in their weekly RSC meeting featuring former Trump officials Linda McMahon, Chad Wolf and Brooke Rollins. 

Walker is running for an open Senate seat in North Carolina but is said to be contemplating making a switch to the new 7th Congressional District House seat, which overlaps with 70 percent of the old district he represented from 2015 to 2020, prior to redistricting. 

Walker declined to comment about a potential switch.

Cawthorn signaled he is prepared to endorse both Walker in the 7th District and Hines in the 4th based on a North Carolina congressional map that he circulated to GOP colleagues on Wednesday.  

Wednesday evening brought another curve ball to North Carolina. The state Supreme Court ruled that the Tarheel State must delay its primaries for two months, halting all candidate filings as the parties battle over new state legislative and congressional district maps.

This story was updated at 7:22 p.m.



Tags Chad Wolf Donald Trump Kevin McCarthy Linda McMahon Marjorie Taylor Greene Mark Walker North Carolina Renee Ellmers

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