WASHINGTON — The Republican contest for the eastern Oklahoma congressional seat turned decidedly negative Tuesday when state Rep. George Faught released a television ad showing his opponent apparently endorsing a single-payer health care system.
In the ad, plumbing company owner Markwayne Mullin is shown saying, “I think a single-payer, single-pay system would be the best.”
The ad likens Mullin to President Barack Obama, who also is quoted in the 30-second spot endorsing single-payer, universal health care.
Mullin, of Westville, got 42 percent of the vote last week in the Republican primary for the 2nd Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Dan Boren; Faught, of Muskogee, got 23 percent. The two will meet in the Aug. 28 runoff primary.
An Aug. 28 runoff also will decide the Democratic nomination in the 2nd District race between Rob Wallace, of Fort Gibson, and Wayne Herriman, of Muskogee.
Mullin said Tuesday that the “quote from my opponent's ad is being used to misrepresent my position, and that is a shameful political trick only a career politician would use.”
Mullin said he has always opposed the health care law and got into the race for Congress in part “because of the damage ObamaCare will do to my business and other businesses.”
The ad began airing just days after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 2010 health care law. In fact, though, Faught's ad does not describe the law, which some opponents refer to as ObamaCare.
The health care law does not establish a single-payer system in which the government administers the programs and issues payments to doctors and hospitals. Obama and the Democratic lawmakers who crafted the law ultimately rejected an approach that would have established a Medicare-type system for all Americans.
Instead, people who can afford it will be required to purchase private health insurance through state-based marketplaces.
Faught was among the conservatives who pushed Gov. Mary Fallin last year to reject a $54 million federal grant to establish the exchanges.
Mullin accused Faught's campaign staff of following him around and taping everything he says — “obviously planning to take my words out of context like they just did.”
Elisha Krauss, Faught's campaign manager, said the video clip of Mullin was taken from a Republican candidate forum held last August in McIntosh County and that the full video shows Mullin was responding to a question about health care.
Krauss said the Faught campaign did not follow Mullin around; rather, she said, campaign staff members recorded events that Faught attended such as the McIntosh County forum.