Wisconsin GOP Rep. Sean Duffy on Monday abruptly announced plans to resign from Congress, saying his family recently learned that his soon-to-be born child has a serious heart condition.
Duffy, who is married to Fox News contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy, is the father of eight children, with another due in October.
Announcing his decision to step down on Sept. 23, Duffy wrote on Facebook, “After eight and a half years, the time has come for me to focus more on the reason we fight these battles – family.”
“As you all know, raising a family is hard work,” he said. “It's especially true for one as large and busy as mine. Being away from home in Washington four days a week is challenging and, for that reason, I have always been open to signs from God when it comes to balancing my desire to serve both my family and my country.”
Duffy said that his family “recently” learned that their baby due in October “will need even more love, time, and attention due to 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,” he said. “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.”
The 47-year-old Duffy, a former cast member of MTV's "The Real World: Boston, was first elected to Congress in 2010. He has been a staunch supporter of President Trump and has also been widely mentioned as a possible candidate for U.S. Senate or governor in 2022.
“I, along with everyone at the Republican Party of Wisconsin, will be keeping Sean, Rachel, and the rest of the Duffy family in our thoughts and prayers as they make this difficult transition and prepare for the arrival of the newest member of their family,” Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Andrew Hitt said in a statement.
Duffy replaced 15-term Democratic Rep. Dave Obey, who announced his retirement 10 months after Duffy entered his first race for the seat. Duffy had been a district attorney for eight years before being elected to Congress.
Duffy met his future wife on the set of MTV's "Road Rules: All Stars" in 1998.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will call a special election to fill the vacancy and is researching options for when to hold it, said the governor's spokeswoman, Melissa Baldauff.
Fox News' Mike Emanuel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.