Congressman says he's resigning because of complications with baby expected in October

Duffy says the baby, due in October, is expected to have heart condition.

August 26, 2019, 4:11 PM

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Sean Duffy announced on Monday that he’s resigning from Congress on Sept. 23 because a baby he and his wife Rachel Campos-Duffy are expecting in October will have 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," Duffy, already a father of eight, wrote in a statement. "It is not an easy decision – because I truly love being your Congressman – but it is the right decision for my family, which is my first love and responsibility."

A member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, Duffy is a practicing Roman Catholic. He believes life begins from the moment of conception and lasts until natural death and has supported legislation he says is needed to protect the unborn, ensure taxpayer dollars are not used for abortions, and defend individual conscience rights.

PHOTO: Rachel Duffy and Rep Sean Duffy at the 2016 Republican National Convention, July 18, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio.
Rachel Duffy and Rep Sean Duffy at the 2016 Republican National Convention, July 18, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio.
Ida Mae Astute/ABC, FILE

Duffy, an accomplished professional lumberjack athlete-turned reality television star on MTV's "Real World," has served in the House of Representatives since 2011. He had just launched a new reelection website, duffyforwisconsin.com, Monday morning.

"I will be forever grateful for and humbled by the faith and sacred trust you have put in me all these years," Duffy noted. "I am especially grateful for the prayers said on behalf of our family. We hope they keep coming! I will miss being your Congressman, but I am also looking forward to having more time with my family, being home for more birthdays and hockey games, and having time to enjoy and care for our new baby girl, who is already so loved by our family."

After his announcement, a chorus of support rang out from Duffy's colleagues on Capitol Hill, as well as President Donald Trump.

Wisconsin Republican Jim Sensenbrenner, the longest-serving member of the state's delegation, offered his support to the Duffys, noting it was "an honor to mentor them and watch them excel."

“Sean and Rachel Duffy are dear friends and proud patriots," Sensenbrenner wrote in a statement. "They and their children are family to me. While it comes as a great loss to the people of Wisconsin, I understand the challenging times ahead for the Duffy family and respect their decision. Sean, Rachel, their unborn child, and the rest of the family are in my prayers. As I have seen them overcome many challenges before, I am confident that they will undertake this one with prayerful and humble hearts.”

Rep. Mike Gallagher, called Duffy "a great husband, father, and a dedicated representative for the people of Wisconsin."

"His decision to leave Congress is unfortunate, but Sean’s choice ultimately reflects his commitment to always putting his family first," Gallagher, R-Wis., stated. "I will miss serving with him in Congress and will pray for him, Rachel, and their growing family as they begin this next chapter of their lives."

Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District has been a solid Republican seat since the 2010 midterm elections. President Donald Trump won the district by 20 points in 2016 while Duffy won reelection in 2018 by 22 points.

“Sean Duffy is right to put his family first during this tough time and Jacquie and I will keep them in our prayers," Rep. Tom Emmer, the National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, noted in a statement. "This district is a Republican stronghold, and whoever the socialist Democrats nominate will be forced to answer for their party’s radical agenda of open borders, socialized health care and a lust for impeaching President Trump.”

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