Representative Sean Duffy (R., Wis.) has announced that he will resign from Congress later next month, saying he will “take a break from public service” after learning that his unborn child has a heart condition. Duffy has represented Wisconsin’s seventh congressional district since 2011, first elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010 that saw the GOP take back the House of Representatives.
“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,” Duffy wrote in a statement on his official Facebook page on Monday. “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.”
After Duffy’s announcement, the University of Virginia Center for Politics shifted the House race in the seventh district from from “safe Republican” to “likely Republican.” Wisconsin’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, will announce a date for a special election to fill Duffy’s seat.
“After eight and a half years, the time has come for me to focus more on the reason we fight these battles – family,” Duffy added. The baby due in October will be the ninth for Duffy and his wife, Rachel Campos-Duffy.
“I did notice that when I announced that I was pregnant with my ninth, it made some of the tabloid news as well as some of the political blogs, and what I found fascinating is that the comments on the Daily Mail or People.com were largely positive,” Campos-Duffy told National Review in a July interview. “It was on Politico and The Hill where many commenters had awful things to say about people with large families. And it was so much misogynistic stuff like ‘Keep your legs closed,’ or comments that I’m basically an environmental terrorist — a lot of comments about our carbon footprint, which thought was fascinating as well.”
Duffy deserves to be commended for deciding to focus on the needs of his family, especially since he is widely considered a promising young Republican and likely had a bright political career ahead of him. Perhaps he’ll return to office in the future, but in the meantime, his resignation is a reminder that there are more important things than elections.