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Madison Cawthorn fails to forward case work to successor in Congress and uproots to Florida

Former Rep Madison Cawthorn’s stormy tenure on Capitol Hill is over, but the controversy surrounding his conduct in office continues.

On Tuesday, Mr Cawthorn’s replacement in the US House Rep Chuck Edwards said in a news release that Mr Cawthorn left his office completely unaware of pending constituent casework before leaving office. Given that, Mr Edwards urged any citizen with outstanding casework to contact his office.

It is common practice for outgoing representatives to transfer official constituent casework to their successors in the House so that consituents don’t suffer serious disruptions in service. But Edwards wrote in the release that Cawthorn did not transfer the work by a 23 December deadline and that subsequent attempts to contact him have been unsccessful.

“Repeated attempts to reach Congressman Cawthorn and his staff were made over the past month, but no response or action was provided,” the news release said.

Mr Cawthorn has not responded to the allegations. Mr Edwards, a Republican who previously served in the North Carolina state legislature, defeated Mr Cawthorn in a combustible Republican primary last spring.

After his primary defeat, Mr Cawthorn, a member of the far right, appeared to all but stop doing his job. The Ashville Citizen-Times reported last year that Mr Cawthorn’s office stopped answering constituent calls and that the congressman vacated his Washington DC and district offices two months before the end of his term.

Mr Cawthorn apparently had other things on his mind, like, perhaps, buying a house. In a post on social media the day after his term in Congress officially ended, Mr Cawthorn wrote that he had moved to Florida as he endorsed Rep Byron Donalds for speaker of the House.

“There are many reasons I moved to Florida,” Mr Cawthorn wrote on Instagram. “One of the big contributing factors is that I know Byron Donalds is a leader in this state. That means this state will always be on offense to safeguard our future. Byron for Speaker.”

Mr Cawthorn is still registered to vote in North Carolina, and it’s unclear whether he plans to make his move to Florida permanent. Mr Cawthorn purchased a $1.1m home in Cape Coral in southwestern Florida in August, three months after losing the primary to Mr Edwards.

Members of the House of Representatives are required to live in the state they represent.

Mr Cawthorn’s brief tenure in Congress was full of drama. The 27-year-old was charged with driving with a revoked license, attempted to bring a firearm through airport security, alleged that prominent people in Washington did cocaine in front of him, and called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug.”

He used his final speech as a member of the House to attack “metrosexuals,” an address in line with his focus on hypermasculinity and its place in American society.