News & Politics

GOP Rep. Sean Duffy Plans to Resign, Citing Unborn Baby's Health Concerns

Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wisc., asks a question of Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell during a House Committee on Financial Services hearing, Wednesday, July 18, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

On Monday, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.) announced that he would step down from Congress next month in order to devote more time to his family after news that his ninth child, due in the fall, has a  heart condition. While many Republicans have been resigning as the 2020 cycle ramps up, Duffy’s district is extremely red and likely to elect another Republican. Wisconsin Republicans have mentioned him as a potential candidate for U.S. Senate or governor in 2022.

“Next to marrying Rachel, representing you – the people and families of Wisconsin’s 7th District – in Congress has been the highest honor of my life. Together, we have engaged in the most important battles of our time: protecting freedom of speech and religious liberty, taking care of our veterans, defending the unborn, and saving American jobs and American capitalism,” Duffy said in a statement on Facebook. “After eight and a half years, the time has come for me to focus more on the reason we fight these battles – family.”

His wife, Fox News guest host Rachel Campos-Duffy, is pregnant with their ninth child. The two met on the set of MTV’s RealWorld/Road Rules Challenge and got married in 1999.

“Recently, we’ve learned that our baby, due in late October, will need even more love, time, and attention due to complications, including a heart condition. With much prayer, I have decided that this is the right time for me to take a break from public service in order to be the support my wife, baby and family need right now,” the congressman announced.

He will resign on September 23.

Wisconsin’s 7th District has grown more conservative since Duffy first took office in 2011, the Associated Press reported. In 2012, Mitt Romney won the district with only 51 percent of the vote, compared to President Barack Obama’s 48 percent that year. In 2016, Donald Trump won 21 percent more than Hillary Clinton (57 percent to 37 percent). Duffy won reelection last year by 22 points.

It seems unlikely the congressman is stepping down due to fears he might lose the election next November. Indeed, the sudden announcement seems genuine — and it might also allow Duffy enough time to prepare a 2022 run. According to the AP, he leaves Congress with about $2.4 million in his campaign fund.

Duffy, a Roman Catholic, has been an outspoken defender of life, having sponsored several bills protecting unborn children from abortion.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.