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House hopeful Bo Hines has message for GOP donors: He's not Madison Cawthorn 2.0

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 8/1/2022 David M. Drucker
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Bo Hines typically begins meetings and telephone calls with possible campaign contributors wryly observing that he and Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) are nothing alike.

Hines, the Republican nominee in North Carolina’s new 13th Congressional District, a swing seat, is facing resistance from GOP donors worried that the telegenic 26-year-old is the second coming of Cawthorn. The freshman congressman, 27, was ousted in a May primary after voters and top North Carolina Republicans tired of his immaturity and fixation with political celebrity. Hines is working to convince Republican financiers that beyond superficial similarities, he and Cawthorn are polar opposites.

“I am focused on representing the men and women of North Carolina’s 13th to the best of my ability. I have no desire to be a celebrity politician,” Hines said Monday in a statement provided to the Washington Examiner. “I would rather serve my community and work tirelessly to ensure North Carolina’s future is bright and on a path towards prosperity.”

Hines’s supporters are doing their part to get the word out as well.

“I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Bo Hines over the course of this campaign, and I have been impressed with his thoughtfulness, maturity, and grasp of the issues,” Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) said Monday. “I encourage anyone with concerns about his age to spend some time getting to know him. You will be impressed.”

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is headlining a fundraiser for Hines on Aug. 9 in the 13th Congressional District anchored by Raleigh and with a slight GOP lean, which was drawn as a part of the decennial redistricting process. The Hines campaign considers the support of McCarthy, on track to be elected speaker if Republicans win the House majority on Nov. 8, an important vote of confidence in the millennial, first-time candidate.

Republican operatives in North Carolina and Washington familiar with Hines’s campaign say his challenges raising money — and suspicion about his intentions emanating from some top GOP elected officials in the state — are strictly a function of a cloud cast by the scandal-plagued Cawthorn.

With the congressman’s youth, good looks, and communications skills, GOP insiders pictured him as a major part of the party’s future after he was elected to represent western North Carolina’s conservative 11th Congressional District in 2020. But by the time Republicans headed to the polls for a May 17 primary, voters and GOP members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation had soured on Cawthorn. Despite a divided candidate field, Cawthorn lost renomination to state Sen. Chuck Edwards.

Among Cawthorn’s offenses?

A string of needless run-ins with law enforcement; an aborted move to switch districts to position himself for a 2026 Senate bid; a half-baked, hubristic campaign to anoint the GOP nominee in 11 of North Carolina’s 14 newly configured House seats (Cawthorn endorsed Hines for a district that was later redrawn); attempts to bully Republicans he deemed insufficiently conservative; inattention to legislating and constituent services; and focus on maximizing his national political star power.

It’s no wonder some Republican donors, not to mention GOP elected officials, might be wary of another young, attractive conservative running for Congress. But a review of Hines’s biography reveals hints of a more grounded, mature adult. Hines, married to his wife Mary Charles since July 2021, earned an undergraduate degree from Yale and a law degree from Wake Forest University. Before mounting his 2022 campaign, Hines worked for various family-owned businesses.

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By comparison, Cawthorn never finished college and was unmarried at the time of his election in 2020. After assuming office, inconsistencies and exaggerations about the congressman’s background were slowly uncovered in news reports as the political press corps homed in on the latest rising Republican political star. Cawthorn did marry after heading to Washington, but he and his wife sought a divorce after less than a year.

“Bo and Madison are both young men in their mid-twenties, but that is where the similarities end,” said a senior Republican aide supportive of Hines and keeping tabs on his campaign. “Bo has given every indication he will be a productive member.”

Hines is running against Democrat Wiley Nickel, a state senator. Inside Elections, a nonpartisan political handicapper, rates this contest a pure toss-up.

 

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Tags: News, Campaigns, Midterms 2022, Madison Cawthorn, North Carolina

Original Author: David M. Drucker

Original Location: House hopeful Bo Hines has message for GOP donors: He's not Madison Cawthorn 2.0

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