This is the season when we’re all on the lookout for House Representatives announcing that they’re retiring and not seeking re-election. But everyone’s ears perked up a bit when we learned that Republican Rep. Sean Duffy from Wisconsin was resigning, effective in a few weeks.
A couple of days ago, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI, 7th District) announced that he was resigning from Congress to “spend more time with his family.” He said his final day in Congress would be September 23.
Of course, in the modern world, when someone with an important position says they’re leaving their job to focus on their family, suddenly everyone becomes Sherlock Holmes trying to figure out what’s REALLY happening.
In this case, however, it appears on its face to be the truth. Duffy and his wife Rachel Campos-Duffy, (both former cast members of MTV’s Real World series), are expecting their ninth child in October and recently learned that the baby has a heart defect.
I am quite sympathetic to their situation, as this happened to a close family member of mine, and the fear and terror and utter helplessness the parents felt prior to the birth was heartbreaking.
On a much snarkier side, I have to point out that Rep. Duffy voted to repeal the pre-existing conditions protection in the Affordable Care Act — protection Duffy’s newest child will need to get any kind of quality insurance.
What Happens Next
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (D) has already issued a statement saying that they are looking at potential dates to hold a special election. Whoever wins the election will serve the 7th District for a short time as they’ll immediately have to start campaigning for the 2020 election. One potential date for the special election is April 7, as that is the date of the 2020 election primary.
The district is pretty red. Duffy won his last three elections with anywhere from 56% – 61% of the vote. That said, I hope the Democrats attract a strong candidate, as once an incumbent leaves, a race becomes far more competitive.
This does remind me of when Scott Walker (R) was governor last year and there was a need for a special election for a state legislature seat. Earlier in that legislative cycle, a seat became empty and as expected, Walker called a special election to fill it. But in one of the great red-to-blue flips of 2018, a Democrat took the seat, shocking everyone including Gov. Walker. So when the new seat became open, he refused to call a special election. It’s true! He refused to call a special election, but he got sued and lost. Good times.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out how incredibly important Wisconsin is in 2019 and 2020. Wisconsin is one of the top 3 most crucial states we need to win in the Electoral College in 2020. Furthermore, 2020 is our best chance to get state-level wins that could put the Democrats back in power in key positions just as redistricting happens. I don’t have to tell you that Wisconsin’s gerrymandering has set the party back a lot.
Once the special election date is set, I hope you’ll all consider helping the Democratic candidate in some way. Building excitement and enthusiasm with the Democratic voters in Wisconsin needs to be an all-out effort, and we can help with that no matter what state we’re in. To further that, I’ll be creating a Wisconsin Swing State guide in the coming weeks which will be full of organizations we can support that focus on voter registration and turnout.