North Carolina Republicans have voted to end controversial freshman congressman Madison Cawthorn's time in office after a string of self-inflicted controversies turned major figures in their party against him.
The first-term US House member conceded the midterm primary race on Tuesday night, local media and CNN reported.
A nude video, claims he was invited to a cocaine-fuelled Washington orgy by leaders he respected, two attempts to carry a gun onto an airplane and calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy a thug in the midst of a Russian invasion turned colleagues against the 26-year-old, who is Congress's youngest member.
A last-minute plea by former president Donald Trump to give the congressman "a second chance" was not enough to hold off a challenge by state senator Chuck Edwards for the state's 11 congressional district.
Cawthorn's antics motivated a Republican fundraising committee to rally around Edwards, who eked out a win with enough of the vote to avoid a run-off.
"I just see a lack of judgment," said Republican US senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who said Cawthorn had not demonstrated a serious interest in serving as a legislator even when the state was hit by flooding.
"On any given day he's an embarrassment," retiring Republican US senator Richard Burr of North Carolina said before the primary.
Cawthorn, who uses a wheelchair after being partially paralysed from a car accident as a teenager, was seen as a rising Republican star after defeating a Trump-endorsed candidate in 2020.
But he saw his lead in opinion polls collapse during the past two months.
Edwards, a 61-year-old businessman who is touting an Trump-like "America First" agenda, will be the likely winner of the heavily leaning Republican district in the November 8 election.
Australian Associated Press
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