A 24-year-old political newcomer has defeated the candidate endorsed by Donald Trump in the GOP primary for the 11th congressional district in North Carolina.
Madison Cawthorn is a real estate investor and motivational speaker, who pledged a "new generation of leadership" in his acceptance statement.
The seat has been held by the GOP since 2012. If he wins his election in November, Cawthorn would likely become the youngest member of Congress.
He denied that his victory was a referendum on Trump's leadership, and pledged to work with the president in November.
A 24-year old political novice has beaten the candidate endorsed by President Donald Trump in a North Carolina congressional GOP primary.
Madison Cawthorn beat Trump-backed candidate Lynda Bennett in a contest for the state's 11th congressional district of the House of Representatives, vacated by Mark Meadows when he was appointed White House chief of staff.
In a statement Tuesday night, Cawthorn pledged a "new generation of leadership."
"You turned our message of hope, opportunity, and freedom into a movement," he said in a statement to voters.
Decision Desk HQ and the Associated Press called the election for Cawthorn Tuesday night, though Bennett did not immediately concede.
Cawthorn is a businessman who owns a real estate investment company and is a motivational speaker. He was partially paralyzed in a 2014 car accident and now uses a wheelchair.
"Madison's ordeal built his faith, made him a fighter, helped him appreciate every day, and inspired him to help everyone he encounters overcome whatever adversity they face in their daily lives," his website says.
At 24, Cawthorn is currently too young to serve in the House. But his 25th birthday is in August, which means he will have reached the age limit by the time of the election in November.
He is considered highly likely to win, given that the district's voters have elected a Republican in most votes since 1990.
Should he win the seat, he would probably become the youngest member of Congress. The current youngest member, Democratic Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, is 30.
When she won her seat she was the youngest lawmaker in the institution's modern history, according to The New York Times.
Cawhtorn's victory was upset for Trump, given that the president had recorded messages and tweeted in support of Bennett, a local real estate agent.
But in a statement, Cawthorn denied that the election had been a referendum on Trump's leadership.
"I want to make something clear: I support our great president," he said. "I do not believe this election has been a referendum on the president's influence. The people of western North Carolina are wise and discerning. You observed both candidates and simply made the choice you believed is best for our district."
"I look forward to fighting alongside our president after I'm elected in November," he said.