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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 MeadowsBoehner finally calls it as he sees it Stephen Miller launching group to challenge Democrats' policies through lawsuits A year with the coronavirus: How we got here 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 TrumpThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Iran says onus is on US to rejoin nuclear deal on third anniversary of withdrawal Assaults on Roe v Wade increasing 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.