Wisconsin 7: Duffy’s Seat Remains Solid Republican for Now

by Leah Askarinam August 26, 2019 · 12:11 PM EDT

GOP Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin will resign in September, he announced Monday. His decision will likely prompt a special election, but Republicans are the early favorites to hold the seat.

“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 Facebook post. “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.”

The expansive 7th District covers more than 23,000 square miles in northwestern Wisconsin. It’s also a Republican district that appears to be trending even further away from Democrats. Barack Obama carried the district in 2008 with 53 percent, while Hillary Clinton received just 37 percent in 2016. The district, which CityLab classifies as “pure rural,” is more than 90 percent white, and less than a quarter of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher. This Wisconsin seat is demographically and geographically similar to Minnesota’s 8th District, which Pete Stauber took over for Republicans in 2018.

On the surface, there’s little evidence that a race in this district should become competitive. But we don’t yet know who the candidates will be or even when the election will take place. Republicans manage to make special elections more difficult and interesting than they need to be, but we’re maintaining our Solid Republican rating for now.