Buncombe County commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara will run for the Democratic nomination in the 11th Congressional district in Western North Carolina next year. Beach-Ferrara is the first Democrat to formally announce a run to unseat freshman Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn.
Beach-Ferrara was elected to her second term on the county board last year. She’s also the founding executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, and an ordained minister. Beach-Ferrara released a video announcing her candidacy Wednesday morning, and unveiled her campaign team.
“I’m running because Western North Carolina families deserve better than they’re getting from Madison Cawthorn. My faith teaches me that leadership starts with empathy, compassion, and listening and then getting to work to help people. That’s the kind of leadership I want to offer instead of the division and mean-spiritedness we’re getting now,” said Beach-Ferrara in a statement. “This is going to be a campaign built on bringing people together, finding common ground, organizing everywhere and talking about the issues that actually matter to people’s lives.”
Despite new district lines that included all of the city of Asheville and Buncombe County, Cawthorn was able to continue the Republican win streak in the 11th district last year with an easy victory over Democrat Moe Davis. At age 25, he is the youngest member of Congress. Cawthorn's win came despite numerous reports of allegations of sexual misconduct, false claims about his background, and embracing of far-right positions. Since taking office in January, Cawthorn has remained controversial. During his third day in office on January 6th, he spoke at a rally in support of then-President Donald Trump and false claims of fraud during last year's presidential election. Just hours later, an insurrection led by Trump supporters took place at the U.S. Capitol, and Cawthorn was accused of helping incite it with his speech at the rally, which he denies.
Others are expected to join Cawthorn and Beach-Ferrara in running for the 11th District seat. On Twitter, Western Carolina University political scientist Dr. Chris Cooper noted others have filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, which doesn't necessarily mean they will run. They include two candidates who lost in 2020, Democrat Moe Davis and Republican Lynda Bennett. Another name being mentioned as a potential candidate is Henderson County state senator Chuck Edwards, and even Cawthorn himself believes that Edwards is planning to challenge him in the Republican primary next year.
Just to catch folks up on the #nc11 primary: 4 have filed initial paperwork with the FEC for 2022 ⬇️(that doesn't mean they're necessarily running). Add in Beach-Ferrara. There are also rumblings about more folks on the D & R side who are pondering a run #ncpol pic.twitter.com/YwJGGKBFRp
— Chris Cooper (@chriscooperwcu) March 3, 2021