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Madison Cawthorn defeats Trump pick in race to succeed Meadows

Madison Cawthorn won the GOP runoff in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, making him the favorite to replace former Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump holds his last turkey pardon ceremony Overnight Defense: Pentagon set for tighter virus restrictions as top officials tests positive | Military sees 11th COVID-19 death | House Democrats back Senate language on Confederate base names Trump administration revives talk of action on birthright citizenship MORE (R), who is now serving as White House chief of staff.

Cawthorn, a 24-year-old businessman, defeated Lynda Bennett, a real estate agent and local Republican activist who was backed by Meadows and President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE. The Associated Press called the race for Cawthorn at 8:47 p.m. EDT.

While Cawthorn was running against a candidate backed by some of the heaviest hitters in the district, he was able to win over endorsements from a slate of local officials.

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Cawthorn’s victory in the runoff finalizes the GOP nomination after a flurry of activity following Meadows’s departure to the White House, which took place just before the December filing deadline. 

His win also represents a rare victory over a primary candidate backed by Trump, who is known to take pains to endorse only those he's confident will win.

Cawthorn was nearly killed in a car accident that left him partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair, according to his campaign biography. If elected, he would become one of the youngest members of the House.

Bennett had won the primary in May with 23 percent of the vote but was shy of the 30 percent needed to avoid a runoff.

Cawthorn will be the heavy favorite to win the general election in November in a district Meadows won by more than 20 points in 2018. In November, he will face retired Air Force Col. Moe Davis, who won the Democratic primary earlier this year.