Former Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth will formally announce on Sunday that she will run for the House seat in New York's 18th Congressional District, setting up a likely rematch with the liberal Democrat who ousted her from Congress.
And a second round between Hayworth and the narrow 2012 winner, Rep. Sean Maloney, is sure to be dubbed a "referendum on Obamacare."
Maloney has been a consistent foe of any of the measures designed to repeal or delay the Affordable Care Act. In sharp contrast, Hayworth is a spirited advocate of outright repeal and replacement of Obamacare with market-based solutions.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax on Thursday, Hayworth said that repeal, rather than amending Obamacare, was the only course the next Congress could take.
"As we can see in the unfolding story, there are inherent flaws in Obamacare that are not amenable to amendment," Hayworth said. "You can't just fix it. We see from the failures with the website and the cronyism, this program has created winners and losers and this is adding even more cost.
"Obamacare must be repealed first. Then we have to start with something new."
As for that "something new," the conservative Republican pointed to the Healthy Indiana health program crafted by former Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels in the state where she grew up.
Under the program, Hayworth, 54, said, "Both Medicaid recipients and state employees can have medical savings accounts."
Similar state programs offered by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and other Republican governors have the competition and choice that Obamacare lacks, Hayworth said.
"That's the beauty of this country," said Hayworth. "In a marketplace, there is always competition and choice. They're not just concepts — they work."
Hayworth also makes an issue out of the Dodd-Frank regulatory measure, saying she strongly believes "the harm small businesses experience today is a direct consequence of its avalanche of regulations."
Hayworth, an ophthalmologist, came out of nowhere to overcome several more established Republicans for the nomination in 2010 to represent the district, which includes West Point and towns on both sides of the Hudson River an hour's drive north of New York City. A political newcomer, Hayworth was a favorite of the Hudson Valley's growing tea party movement.
Hayworth unseated Democratic Rep. John Hall in 2010, but two years later, as President Barack Obama was demolishing Mitt Romney in New York, Hayworth lost to Maloney by a slim margin — 52 percent to 48 percent.
In contrast to her first race, Hayworth has the blessings of most of the area GOP "establishment" along with tea partyers, and seems sure to be unopposed for the Republican nod.
With a bumper crop of smaller parties, New York is one of five states in which candidates can appear as the nominee of different parties on the same ballot and have the votes for each added up.
As she did in her first bid for office four years ago, Hayworth is almost sure to carry the ballot lines of the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Parties.
So with the stage is set for a rematch between Hayworth and Maloney, voters in New York's 18th Congressional District will have the rare opportunity to choose between candidates who both have records in Congress, and whose records are sharply opposed.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newmax.
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