GOP underdog's overwhelming primary win raises questions about the power of a Trump endorsement

President Trump and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
(Image credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

President Trump may have to re-evaluate his endorsement bragging rights.

On Tuesday night, 24-year-old political newcomer Madison Cawthorn defeated the Trump-endorsed Lynda Bennett in North Carolina's 11th district GOP primary. It's one of the first times a candidate Trump endorsed lost their primary to another Republican, and definitely notable considering that Cawthorn will become the likely replacement in White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows's old seat.

Meadows left his congressional seat earlier this year to become Trump's top aide, leaving behind a safely Republican district and likely advocating for an endorsement for his friend Bennett. Trump formally threw his support behind Bennett in early June and released a robocall on her behalf, and the Meadows-aligned House Freedom Action PAC spent $500,000 on ads for Bennett, Politico reports.

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But Republicans in the district actually seemed turned off by Meadows' efforts to boost Bennett. After all, he left his seat a little more than a day before the filing deadline for North Carolina's congressional race, leading some to suspect he told Bennett of his plans ahead of time. Someone appearing to be Meadows' brother even registered a campaign domain for Bennett back in October, per Politico. That all likely contributed to Cawthorn's 30-point win over Bennett on Tuesday night — and weakened Trump's threats against Republicans who don't stay in line and earn his support.

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Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn is a graduate of Syracuse University, with degrees in magazine journalism and information technology, along with hours to earn another degree after working at SU's independent paper The Daily Orange. She's currently recovering from a horse addiction while living in New York City, and likes to share her extremely dry sense of humor on Twitter.