MADISON, Wis. (CN) – Representative Sean Duffy, one of President Donald Trump’s fiercest supporters in the state, announced Monday that he will resign from Congress next month in order to spend more time with his family.
The Republican from Wisconsin, who has served his state’s 7th Congressional District since 2011, announced his resignation in a post on his Facebook page, stating that he will resign on Sept. 23. Duffy disclosed in his post that he recently learned that his ninth child, due in October, has a heart condition and “will need even more love, time, and attention due to complications.”
“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,” Duffy said.
Duffy, who appeared as a cast member of MTV’s “The Real World: Boston” in the late 1990s before he began his career in politics, thanked his constituents, whom he described as “the most honest, hard-working, family-oriented, patriotic, and God-fearing constituents in America.”
“Together, we have engaged in the most important battles in our time,” Duffy said. “Protecting freedom of speech and religious liberty, taking care of our veterans, defending the unborn, and saving American jobs and American capitalism.”
The 47-year-old has been a prominent voice in the Badger State’s conservative movement since taking office and was overwhelmingly popular with his constituents, easily winning re-election in 2016 and 2018 by double digits.
Duffy’s seat, which covers 20 counties in northern Wisconsin, was held by Democrat Dave Obey from 1969 to 2011 before the district flipped, due, at least in part, to Wisconsin Act 43, which reconfigured district lines in favor of the GOP.
Former President Barack Obama won the district by 13 points in 2008 before the voting maps were redrawn.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney carried the rural, agriculture-centric region by a slim 3 point advantage in 2012 before Trump won Duffy’s district by 20 points in 2016.
Duffy has been an unwavering supporter of Trump since the latter took office, vociferously siding with the president on issues like immigration and trade.
The congressman recently defended Trump’s controversial tweets telling four congresswomen of color to “go back” to the countries they came from, three of whom were born in the U.S. and all four of whom are citizens. Duffy called the congresswomen “anti-American” in his defense of the president.
Duffy had been widely mentioned as a prime candidate for the U.S. Senate or Wisconsin’s governorship in 2022.
The open seat, representing the largest of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts, will be filled with what is likely to be a hotly-contested special election.
Governor Tony Evers’ office did not respond to a request for comment on Monday as to the potential timeline for the special election.