Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy won’t run for the U.S. Senate next year. The Wausau Republican has taken himself out of consideration for a challenge to Senator Tammy Baldwin, the Madison Democrat expected to seek a second term.
“After much prayer and deliberation, Rachel and I have decided that this is not the right time for me to run for Senate. We have eight great kids and family always comes first. Baldwin will be beat because her radically liberal Madison record and ideas are out of synch with Wisconsin. I look forward to helping our Republican nominee defeat her. I’ll continue to work my heart out for the families of the 7th district, and I’m excited about the great things we will accomplish with our united Republican government.”
Duffy had been talked about as an attractive GOP candidate, with other Republicans reportedly waiting on a decision from the former reality television star before announcing their plans. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he’d consider a run only if Duffy did not. Others mentioned included state Senator Leah Vukmir, state Representative Dale Kooyenga, and businessman Eric Hovde, who lost to former Governor Tommy Thompson in the 2012 Republican Senate primary.
Duffy is in his third term representing the 7th Congressional District in northern Wisconsin. An early and vocal supporter of Donald Trump’s campaign for President, Duffy served on the presidential transition team following Trump’s victory.
Duffy has also gained attention for provocative — and at times inaccurate — statements made during appearances on cable TV news outlets. In a Fox News segment during Wisconsin’s presidential recount in December, Duffy referred to Madison as a “communist community,” and incorrectly claimed that Dane County was the only county in the state checking ballots by hand.
While those comments drew criticism from congressman Mark Pocan and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, Duffy was snarky and unapologetic on Twitter. “For those offended by my ‘communist’ comment, I’ll send a therapy dog to your ‘safe place’ of choice in Madison.”
Duffy was widely criticized earlier this month for comments he made on CNN, in which he said white terrorism is “different” from Muslim terrorism, and referred to some “good things” that came out of the Charleston church massacre. He did seek to clarify those comments later on WTAQ‘s Jerry Bader show.