Minnesota Republican Rep. Jason Lewis, who once lamented that he could no longer call women “sluts,” has lost his seat to Democrat Angie Craig, CNN projects.
Craig won by more than 5 percentage points in the race which CNN rated a “toss up.” The one-on-one race was a rematch of 2016, when Lewis narrowly beat Craig. Both sides saw the district as a key battleground, with the National Republican Congressional Committee releasing a targeted ad in September attacking Craig, a former healthcare executive, for corruption.
In July, CNN’s KFILE reported on several misogynistic comments made by Lewis on the “Jason Lewis Show,” a radio program he hosted from 2009 to 2014 with the tagline “America’s Mr. Right.”
When radio host Rush Limbaugh called women’s rights activists and then-graduate student Sandra Fluke “a slut” in February 2012, Lewis repeatedly expressed disbelief that people could no longer refer to women as sluts.
“Well, the thing is, can we call anybody a slut? This is what begs the question. Take this woman out of it, take Rush out of it for a moment,” Lewis said in a March 2012 episode. “Does a woman now have the right to behave – and I know there’s a double standard between the way men chase women and running and running around – you know, I’m not going to get there, but you know what I’m talking about. 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?”
In another instance, while arguing that “young single women” vote based on coverage of birth control pills, Lewis said those women were not human beings and were without brains.
Responding at the time, Lewis’ campaign emphasized that “it was his job to be provocative” as a radio host.
“This has all been litigated before, and as Congressman Lewis has said time and time again, it was his job to be provocative while on the radio,” Lewis’ campaign manager Becky Alery said in a statement.