ST. PAUL, Minn. — A recently defeated Republican congressman is blaming the Democratic House takeover on the late Republican Sen. John McCain’s vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act.
First-term Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis argued in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece first published Sunday that McCain’s vote against repealing the federal health care law last year “killed the reform effort.” Lewis said the vote also unleashed a wave of Democratic attack ads against Republicans across the country on health care issues.
McCain, a longtime Arizona senator, was among three Republicans to vote against the repeal legislation in the Senate.
Democrats took back control of the House after hammering Republicans on pre-existing conditions, citing the GOP’s repeal efforts and an ongoing lawsuit from 20-plus Republican attorneys general to repeal former President Barack Obama’s health care law. Lewis was among the Republicans unseated last week, losing his suburban Minneapolis-area seat to Democratic challenger Angie Craig.
Lewis argued that McCain’s vote was motivated by distaste for President Donald Trump and not by policy concerns.
Lewis’s column first appeared online on Veteran’s Day. McCain — a decorated war hero, former prisoner of war and one-time Republican presidential nominee — died earlier this year of brain cancer.
McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, called Lewis’s remarks “abhorrent” on Twitter. Lewis’s campaign manager did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lewis is no stranger to controversy. His past career as a conservative talk show radio host was a campaign issue in his 2016 election and again during his failed 2018 bid for a second term, including years-old remarks in which he wondered aloud why he couldn’t call a woman “a slut” and said it’s not the federal government’s place to ban slavery.