Former Rep. Madison Cawthorn confirmed January 5, he has moved to Florida. Rumblings of a potential move away from North Carolina, the state he represented in Congress, began to emerge as early as September when Hurricane Ian devastated Fort Myers, Florida. But Cawthorn never publicly confirmed his move until throwing his support for House speaker behind the nomination of Rep. Byron Donalds, a Republican from Florida.

“There are many reasons I moved to Florida,” Cawthorn wrote Friday 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.” 

Cawthorn bought a house in Cape Coral after a series of scandals plagued his reelection campaign, he lost his primary election and his seat in Congress.

News of his move to Florida began with rumors as Hurricane Ian made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. Some believed Cawthorn lived near Fort Myers and wondered if he was safe. Cawthorn soon posted on his Instagram account videos of the devastation taken from a helicopter. He continued to post photos and videos from Florida without any confirmation that he moved there and wasn’t just visiting. But in November, the Asheville Citizen-Times first reported that Cawthorn purchased a $1.16 million house with a boat in Cape Coral, Florida, just outside Fort Myers.

McClatchy asked Cawthorn’s spokesman, Micah Bock, then whether Cawthorn had moved to Florida or remained in North Carolina but was told the answer was personal. At the time, Cawthorn remained the representative of North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District. Rep. Chuck Edwards, a Republican, succeeded Cawthorn after being sworn in early Saturday morning. Hours earlier, Republicans had named Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California the new House speaker. McCarthy became the first nominee in 100 years not to be elected to the position on the first vote. It took Republicans 15 tries before selecting McCarthy.

Throughout the week, Donalds and several other lawmakers were pitched as potential alternatives, largely conservatives who Cawthorn had closely aligned himself with during his short tenure.

This story appears courtesy of our media partner The Charlotte Observer.