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5 Things To Know: Madison Cawthorn Changes Districts, Will Run in Mecklenburg

…and four more stories from Nov. 7-13, 2022

Madison Cawthorn
Madison Cawthorn speaks at Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit in Tampa, Florida, earlier this year. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Madison Cawthorn Moves Districts, Will Run in District 13

U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn announced on Thursday night that he will leave North Carolina’s 14th congressional district after serving one term there to run in the newly drawn District 13, which includes parts of Mecklenburg County. With the announcement, Cawthorn effectively pushed N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore out of the race.

“I have every confidence in the world that regardless of where I run, the 14th Congressional District will send a patriotic fighter of D.C.,” Cawthorn tweeted. “But knowing the political realities of the 13th District, I’m afraid that another establishment, ‘go along to get along Republican’ would prevail there. I will not let that happen.” 

For context as to what Madison Cawthorn might mean by a “patriotic fighter of D.C.,” the Congressman has repeatedly pushed the lie that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” by Democrats and is believed to have played a role in planning the events that led to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol building in Washington D.C. He addressed the crowd of protesters that eventually overran the Capitol that day. 

In August, Madison Cawthorn stated, “If our election systems continue to be rigged and continued to be stolen then it’s going to lead to one place and that’s bloodshed. And I will tell you, as much as I am willing to defend our liberty at all costs, there’s nothing I would dread doing more than having to pick up arms against a fellow American.”

Moore had reportedly planned to run his first campaign for U.S. Congress in 2022, but responded to reports of Cawthorn’s move on Thursday by stating he would instead run for reelection in the North Carolina legislature instead. 

“While much of the speculation about my potential congressional candidacy has been driven by the media and political pundits, I have been humbled by the folks in our region who expressed their wishes for me to represent them in Washington,” Moore wrote in a statement on Thursday. “While I have given it consideration, right now I am focused on the issues at hand that impact all North Carolinians.” 


Panthers Re-sign Cam Newton

The Carolina Panthers on Thursday re-signed Cam Newton, the most successful quarterback in franchise history who was unceremoniously booted from the team less than two years ago following injury-addled seasons and an all-too-public lack of confidence from David Tepper, who was then still warming up to his position as the team’s owner. 

Newton, now 32, is the Panthers’ winningest quarterback and all-time leading passer. He is re-signing with the Panthers at a time when they’ve been struggling greatly; dropping four of their last five games to put them at 4-5. 

Cam Newton
Cam Newton plays with the Panthers in 2018. (Photo by Keith Allison)

At a press conference on Friday, Newton acknowledged the messy past between him and the team that drafted him. “Were there disconnects in the past? It’s irrelevant. The fact that we’re able to make what may seem like a lot of wrongs, or some wrongs, right — that’s the most exciting thing about it. And . . . to hell with feelings. It would be the biggest right and wrong by just winning football games,” he said. 

Newton’s contract, which runs through the end of the season, is reportedly worth up to $10 million, including $4.5 million fully guaranteed and a $1.5-million roster bonus. 


Dontae Sharpe Granted Full Pardon

Following two months of protests outside of of the Governor’s Mansion in Raleigh, Gov. Cooper announced Friday that Dontae Sharp has been granted a full pardon of innocence. Sharp, who is from Charlotte, spent more than 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He was released in 2019 after a lead witness who testified against him admitted she lied. 

Since Sept. 24, North Carolina activists have been holding Freedom Friday vigils outside the Governor’s Mansion, where they’ve been calling for immediate pardons for exonerated men. A coalition of social justice groups including Black Voters Matter, Color of Change, Forward Justice, the NC NAACP, Repairers of the Breach and others, have called on Cooper to grant immediate pardons for Sharpe, along with Glen Edward Chapman, Howard Dudley and Michael Parker, all of whom were wrongfully convicted and spent decades behind bars. 

The groups held a vigil for Sharp in Raleigh on Friday evening following Cooper’s announcement. Sharp will now be allowed to vote, as well as file a claim for compensation from the state. 

“Dontae’s case is a perfect example of why voting power in the Black community is so important,” said Danielle Brown, national deputy field director for Black Voters Matter, in October. “Community members in Greenville organized and voted to elect new system actors who would care about Dontae’s case and other policies and issues impacting their daily lives. Without that organized voting effort, Dontae would likely still be in jail as an innocent man.”


More Miscommunication Over Mecklenburg Mask Mandate

The Mecklenburg County Public Health department has been sending mixed messages about when residents will legally be able to take their masks off indoors. County commissioners voted unanimously on Nov. 3 to revise the mandate, which has been in effect since Aug. 31 and requires masks be worn inside public places across all municipalities regardless of vaccination status.

While the original ordinance called for the local test-positivity rate to remain below 5% for 30 days before the mandate could be lifted, the new rule states that the test-positivity rate must go below 5% for a seven-day average.

COVID-19 graph
(Graph courtesy of MCPH)

Since the Nov. 3 vote, Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris has switched up the specifics of the rule multiple times, mainly in relation to when it can potentially go into effect. Shortly after the vote, it was announced that the county could not start counting days until 10 days after public notice was given, which would make Nov. 17 the earliest the mandate could possibly be lifted. 

More recently, Harris changed her original pronouncement that no days before Nov. 17 could be counted in the seven-day average, stating that any days after Nov. 10 can be counted into a seven-day average, and when that seven-day average is below 5%, the mask mandate will be lifted. However, on Friday, John Paul with WSOC reported that, despite CDC data showing Mecklenburg County under the 5% positivity rate for four days now, that wouldn’t count toward the county’s stats because they are using state data. MCPH will reportedly begin providing daily updates on Monday.


Teen Dies After Being Shot in Traffic

Police announced on Sunday evening that the teenager who was shot at one of north Charlotte’s busiest intersections early on the morning of Nov. 6 died of his wounds. According to CMPD, 17-year-old Juan Ramirez showed up to the hospital with a life-threatening gunshot wound just after midnight on Saturday morning.

Further investigation found that he was riding in a car (it’s unclear if he was driving or not) near the intersection of North Tryon Street and West W.T. Harris Boulevard when he was shot. He succumbed to his injuries on Sunday. No arrests have yet been made in the case.

 

Police have arrested a woman in connection with a murder that occurred in north Charlotte on Monday night. At around 11 p.m. that night, police responded to a call of a person having been shot in the parking lot of a gas station on West Sugar Creek Road. MEDIC transported 42-year-old Lester Acevedo to the hospital, where he later died.

Further investigation found that Acevedo was most likely shot while on nearby Merlane Lane before driving himself to the gas station. On Friday, police announced that a 20-year-old woman had been arrested and charged with accessory after the fact in connection with Acevedo’s murder, then later that day announced that a 25-year-old man had been arrested and charged with the murder, as well as robbery with a dangerous weapon and possession of firearm by a felon.  


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