CNN reviewed several months of audio from his Jason Lewis Show, a syndicated program he hosted from 2009 to 2014, and found him lamenting that he can't call women "sluts," arguing that young women who care about birth control aren't human beings and don't have brains, and saying that women vote with their emotions.
So it's completely unsurprising that a Democratic woman is running against him this November — and has a good chance of beating him, too. Angie Craig, a healthcare executive, lost very narrowly to him in Minnesota's 2nd District in 2016, and according to CNN he is considered one of the "most endangered" House Republicans in the midterm election.
After Rush Limbaugh called graduate student and reproductive-rights activist Sandra Fluke a slut back in February 2012 (we hate to drag you back to that scandal, but here we go), Lewis was angry that you can't just call a woman that word whenever you feel like it.
"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 of his show. "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... 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?"
Several times, he also said women don't vote with their brains because they care about reproductive rights. "[W]hen [you're] reliably almost a knee-jerk Democrat vote — is birth control really that important to you ladies?" he said in a November 2012 episode. "Is that really the most important thing that you get your condoms for free? Now you've gotten Madonna, you know, running around in slutty outfits and Sandra Fluke telling everybody, 'I'm not going to pay a dime for my diaphragm.' Is that really what's important to women? I can't believe that."
Lewis' campaign defended his comments, saying his job was "to be provocative while on the radio."
Craig released a statement in response to his offensive comments: "I am deeply disappointed by Rep. Jason Lewis' remarks about women and the example they provide to the young men of our nation, including my four sons. Our children are looking up to our nation's leaders and we must do better. I grew up surrounded by two strong women — my mother and my grandmother — I know what women can accomplish. My mom raised me and my siblings with the help of my grandmother who worked into her 70s to help our family. In Congress, I will fight like hell to make sure that women have the respect and opportunities they deserve so all of our families can thrive."