Anger Over Obamacare Fuels Comeback Bid of Ex-Rep. Hayworth

Image: Anger Over Obamacare Fuels Comeback Bid of Ex-Rep. Hayworth

Monday, 01 Jul 2013 02:41 PM

By John Gizzi

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Eight months after she lost a tight re-election bid to liberal Democrat Sean Maloney, former Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth appears to be headed toward a rematch in New York’s 18th District (Hudson Valley).

"I cherish the people of the Hudson Valley and I’m driven to serve," Hayworth told Newsmax Monday. Although the former congresswoman stopped short of a formal announcement that she would run in 2014, she has officially filed a campaign committee which is expected to show a six-figure amount in it at the time of the next reporting period.

Hayworth, an ophthalmologist came out of nowhere in 2010 to unseat two-term Democratic Rep. John Hall in one of the major upsets of that big Republican year. An unabashed political novice whose sole prior political activity was contributing modestly to John McCain’s presidential campaign in '08, Hayworth voted a solidly conservative line in her lone term in Congress.

In the Democratic year of 2012, however, she was narrowly ousted (51% to 48%) by Maloney.

All signs point to Hayworth being unopposed for the Republican nomination. State Sen. Greg Ball, long mentioned as a contender, announced in May that he would not run for Congress.

Maloney's vote not to repeal Obamacare and Hayworth's spirited opposition to the measure is sure to be the key topic of debate between the protagonists. As Hayworth put it, "I’ve talked to so many people who are hurt by that law. These include small businessmen who don’t know how they can expand to provide health insurance for employees and senior citizens on Medicare, who are very nervous about access to their doctors being reduced or eliminated."

Noting that the 18th District is ripe with family and dairy farms, she also took aim at Maloney’s recent vote against the Farm Bill. Although 62 House Republicans opposed it, Hayworth nonetheless said it would have been "a start toward the necessary reform we need in the farm program. I would have voted for it."

Historically, more former U.S. House Members have lost comeback attempts than won. But this trend seemed to change dramatically in '12, as two Republicans and seven Democrats who had served in the House previously were sent back for nonconsecutive service. Earlier this year, South Carolina’s former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford won a special election for the House 13 years after he last served there.

Whether Nan Hayworth can ride public animosity toward Obamacare and follow in this tradition of "comeback kids" will likely be one of the more interesting election stories of 2014.

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