Midterms 2018: Republican who asked why it is unacceptable to call women ‘sluts’ loses seat to woman

Pro-Trump politician defeated by Minnesota's first openly gay woman to be elected to Congress

Eli Rosenberg
Thursday 08 November 2018 10:08 GMT
GOP congressman Jason Lewis ranting about being unable to label women as 'sluts' on his radio show in 2012

Republican Representative Jason Lewis of Minnesota made headlines this summer when it was revealed he made bigoted remarks about women on a radio show before he took office.

On a syndicated show he hosted in 2012, Mr Lewis spoke up in defence of Rush Limbaugh, who had been criticised for calling a Georgetown University student "a slut" for petitioning the school to pay for her birth control. Mr Lewis wondered why it was no longer acceptable to use the word to refer to women.

On Tuesday, Mr Lewis was among a large group of Republican men who were defeated by Democratic women challengers. When it convenes next year, the new Congress will have more than 100 women in its ranks for the first time in history. Democrat Angie Craig won her bid to unseat Mr Lewis in the suburban district south of Minneapolis by about 5 percentage points.

Mr Lewis, who voted with President Donald Trump's positions about 91 per cent of the time, had run on his votes for the tax cuts and the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Ms Craig, a former health-care executive, is being included on the lists of Democrats who represent various demographic firsts in Congress. According to NPR, she is the first lesbian mother and, for Minnesota, the first openly gay woman to be elected to Congress.

Mr Lewis' remarks were unearthed by CNN in July.

"Well, the thing is, can we call anybody a slut? This is what begs the question," he said on the show. "But it used to be that women were held to a little bit of a higher standard. We required modesty from women. Now, are we beyond those days where a woman can behave as a slut, but you can't call her a slut?"

The comments are part of a long trail of statements he has made that have drawn scrutiny. In the run-up to the 2016 election, the Atlantic called him "Minnesota's Mini-Trump" and noted his history of incendiary remarks on issues of race and gender.

On another show in 2012, Mr Lewis tried to explain support among women for President Barack Obama by saying they were "guided by emotion, not reason."

"We all know that women tend to vote more liberal than men," he said. "It is the women who are guided by more emotion than reason."

Mr Lewis also mocked women who were traumatised by unwanted sexual advances, such as being inappropriately kissed or having their thigh touched, CNN reported in October.

The Washington Post

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