Sean Duffy

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Sean Duffy
Sean Duffy Official Portrait 115th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 7th district
In office
January 3, 2011 – September 23, 2019
Preceded byDave Obey
Succeeded byTom Tiffany
District Attorney of Ashland County
In office
August 1, 2002 – July 9, 2010
Preceded byMichael Gableman
Succeeded byKelly McKnight
Personal details
Sean Patrick Duffy

(1971-10-03) October 3, 1971 (age 50)
Hayward, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
(m. 1999)
EducationSaint Mary's University of Minnesota (BA)
William Mitchell College of Law (JD)

Sean Patrick Duffy (born October 3, 1971) is an American politician, prosecutor, former sports commentator and reality television personality who is currently a Fox News contributor. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as the U.S. representative for Wisconsin's 7th congressional district from 2011 to 2019.

He first gained fame as a cast member on The Real World: Boston, 1998's Road Rules: All Stars and 2002's Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, before going on to serve as district attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin.

Early life[edit]

Duffy was born on October 3, 1971, in Hayward, Wisconsin,[1][2][3] the tenth of 11 children of Carol Ann (née Yackel) and Thomas Walter Duffy. Duffy has a marketing degree from St. Mary's University, and a J.D. degree from William Mitchell College of Law.[4]

Duffy started log rolling at age five and speed climbing (sprinting up 60 and 90 foot poles) at 13. He holds two speed-climbing titles.[5]

Television career[edit]

In 1997, Duffy appeared on The Real World: Boston, the sixth season of the MTV reality television show, and on Road Rules: All Stars in 1998, where he met his future wife Rachel Campos. Duffy later appeared on Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, which aired in 2002. Both appeared in a filmed segment on 2008's The Real World Awards Bash, while Duffy served as district attorney.[6]

Duffy has been an ESPN color commentator for televised competitions and in 2003 appeared as both a competitor and commentator on ESPN's Great Outdoor Games. He was named Badger State Games Honorary Athlete of the 2004 Winter Games.[4]

Political career[edit]


Duffy, a Republican,[7] was appointed Ashland County District Attorney in 2002[8] by then Governor Scott McCallum, and was reelected unopposed in 2002,[8] 2004,[9] 2006[10] and 2008. Upon assuming the office of district attorney, he succeeded Michael Gableman, a former justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Duffy was on the Republican slate of the 10 Wisconsin electors for the 2008 presidential election.[11]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Duffy speaking at CPAC 2013



On July 8, 2009, Duffy announced his campaign for Congress in Wisconsin's seventh congressional district. Duffy was considered an underdog in the race until May 2010 when 15-term incumbent Democratic Representative Dave Obey announced that he would not seek re-election.[12] Following Obey's announcement, Democratic State Senator Julie Lassa joined the race.

On June 4, 2010, Duffy announced his resignation from the position of Ashland County District Attorney to focus on the congressional race. The resignation was effective three weeks later and Duffy returned to work in his father's law practice. He won the race on November 2, 2010, in a nationwide wave of Republicans being elected to Congress.[13]

Different sources attribute his victory to his ten-month head start on Lassa's campaign, his grassroots organization and fundraising, his experience as a district attorney, and voter discontent with the economy.[14]


Duffy was challenged by Democratic nominee Pat Kreitlow.


Duffy was challenged by Democratic nominee Kelly Westlund.


In 2011, Duffy voted to eliminate Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage requirements for federal projects.[15][16][17]

In March 2011, Duffy was criticized when a video published by the Polk County Republicans, showing a public town hall-style meeting in his district, was picked up by media commentators. In the video, made in the wake of the passage of a controversial state bill which would have effectively frozen the salaries of state employees, Duffy was asked about whether he would be willing to cut his own $174,000 salary. Duffy responded that he would only be willing to do so as part of a general round of salary cuts for government employees, and insisted that he was "struggling" to get by, despite his salary being nearly three times the average for Wisconsin residents.[18][19][20][21]

On December 22, 2011, Duffy and fellow GOP House freshman Rick Crawford (Arkansas), published an open letter to Speaker Boehner, urging the leader to allow the House to vote on the Senate's two-month tax cut extension compromise.[22]

In 2013, Duffy and Democratic House member Michael Michaud (Maine) introduced a resolution calling for government action to ensure that people be provided with paper-based information along with electronic.[23]

Duffy was on the Select Investigative Panel on Planned Parenthood.[24]

Duffy supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. He stated that "President Trump is fulfilling a campaign promise to re-evaluate our visa vetting process so that the American people are safe from terrorism."[25]

In January 2017, Duffy co-sponsored legislation that would end protection for grey wolves in the Endangered Species Act.[26]

In February 2017, Duffy made controversial statements in an interview with CNN's Alisyn Camerota while discussing the topic of President Trump's immigration and travel ban, which focused on combating radical Islamist terrorists. When Camerota, referring to the Quebec City mosque shooting, asked why Trump made no public statement on the white terrorists who perpetrated that act, Duffy replied, "I don't know, there's a difference. You don't have a group like ISIS or al Qaeda that is inspiring people around the world to take up arms and kill innocents...That was a one off, Alisyn."[27]

In July 2018, Duffy said that Europe, China, Canada and Mexico had committed "economic terrorism in a way" by placing retaliatory tariffs on the United States in response to tariffs enacted by the Trump administration.[28]

Duffy resigned his seat effective September 23, 2019, to care for a newborn daughter with a heart defect.[29]

Legislation sponsored[edit]

Duffy proposed legislation[30] to replace the director of the consumer watchdog group, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), with a five-person commission and removing the CFPB from Federal Reserve System oversight so that it "would go through the same funding process as other federal agencies."[30][31][32] The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would have been renamed the Financial Product Safety Commission. The bill also intended to make overturning the decisions about regulations that the new commission made easier to do.[31] The bill gave the commission more room to get rid of policies that Duffy believes jeopardize the safety of the US banking system.[33]

In December 2015, Duffy introduced legislation[34] to establish a five-person financial oversight board over Puerto Rico (with members appointed by the White House) in exchange for allowing public entities in Puerto Rico access to Chapter 9 restructuring.[35][36][37][38]

The American Conservative Union gave him a 78% evaluation in 2017 and Americans for Prosperity gave him an 88% evaluation in 2019.[citation needed]

Committee assignments[edit]

Duffy served on the House Committee on Financial Services. He was appointed Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in November 2014, taking over from Patrick McHenry.[39] He was also a member of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises. He also served on the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit and the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity.[40]

Electoral history[edit]

  • 2018 race for U.S. House of Representatives – 7th District[41]
    • Sean Duffy (R), 60.2%
    • Margaret Engebretson (D), 38.5%
  • 2016 race for U.S. House of Representatives – 7th District[42]
    • Sean Duffy (R), 62%
    • Mary Hoeft (D), 38%
  • 2014 race for U.S. House of Representatives – 7th District
    • Sean Duffy (R), 60%
    • Kelly Westlund (D), 39%
  • 2012 race for U.S. House of Representatives – 7th District
  • 2010 race for U.S. House of Representatives – 7th District
  • 2008 race for District Attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin
    • Sean Duffy (R) (inc.)
    • unopposed
  • 2006 race for District Attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin
    • Sean Duffy (R) (inc.)
    • unopposed
  • 2004 race for District Attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin
    • Sean Duffy (R) (inc.)
    • unopposed
  • 2002 race for District Attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin
    • Sean Duffy (R) (inc.)
    • unopposed

Personal life[edit]

Duffy is a practicing Roman Catholic.[43]

Duffy is married to Rachel Campos-Duffy, a fellow alumna of The Real World, and Fox News personality, whom he met when they were co-stars on Road Rules: All Stars.[44][45] They lived in Ashland, Wisconsin when Duffy was District Attorney for that county.[44][46][47][48] They moved to Weston, a suburb of Wausau, Wisconsin, in late 2011, in order for Duffy to be closer to an airport for his weekly commute to Washington, D.C., where he spent three or four days a week.[49][50]

As of August 2019, Duffy and his wife have eight children, and were expecting their ninth that October. On August 26, 2019, Duffy announced that because he and his wife learned that their ninth child, would experience health complications, including a heart condition, he was resigning from Congress, effective September 23.[51]

Duffy's nephew, Erik Johnson, is an American ice hockey defenseman and alternate captain for the Colorado Avalanche.[52]


  1. ^ "Rep. Sean Patrick Duffy". LegiStorm. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  2. ^ "Wisconsin: Sean Patrick Duffy" Archived 2014-03-06 at The Washington Times. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  3. ^ "Sean Duffy's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Hayward Lumberjack Champion Sean Duffy Named Honorary Athlete | Sports in Wisconsin". July 17, 2007. Archived from the original on October 19, 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
  5. ^ "Lumberjack World Championships, Hayward". Classic Wisconsin. Archived from the original on July 28, 2012. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
  6. ^ "The Real World Awards Bash (Extended Version)". MTV. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  7. ^ "Real World: Washington – The Scorecard". Politico. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Bloomer passes referendum on first try". February 19, 2003. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
  9. ^ "Wisconsin State Elections Board Results of Fall General Election – 11/02/2004" Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine, December 1, 2004. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
  10. ^ "Wisconsin State Elections Board Results of Fall General Election – 11/07/2006" Archived 2008-04-30 at the Wayback Machine, December 5, 2006. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
  11. ^ Marrero, Diana (October 30, 2008). "Wisconsin slate of potential electors cut from all cloths". JSOnline. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
  12. ^ "Sean Duffy running for congress". WAOW. July 8, 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
  13. ^ "Wisconsin's Duffy says he's ready to get to work" Archived 2010-11-08 at the Wayback Machine. Chicago Tribune/Associated Press. November 3, 2010.
  14. ^ "Strong campaign, voter discontent keys to Duffy victory" Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine. News Talk 550AM 99.9AM WSAU (AM). November 4, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  15. ^ "Republican Representative Sean Duffy of Wisconsin". That's My Congress. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  16. ^ "Sean Duffy on Jobs", Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  17. ^ Bivins, Larry (December 24, 2011). "Duffy ends 2011 with bill he promised at start". The Marshfield News-Herald.
  18. ^ Stewart, Rebecca. "'Real World' congressman's money troubles", CNN, March 30, 2011.
  19. ^ Gilbert, Craig. "House freshman Duffy tells constituents "he's not living high on the hog" on congressional pay", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 29, 2011.
  20. ^ Downie, James. "How to Prolong a Scandal, Wisconsin Edition", The New Republic, March 31, 2011.
  21. ^ Bivins, Larry. "Dems mock Sean Duffy's $174,000 salary 'struggles'", Wausau Daily Herald, March 31, 2011.
  22. ^ "Payroll tax cut: Two GOP frosh bail, push for two-month bill". Politico, December 22, 2001.
  23. ^ Rein, Lisa (February 16, 2013). "Group tries to slow federal government's move away from paper to the Web". The Washington Post.
  24. ^ Kane, Paul (October 23, 2015). "Boehner's next select committee, focusing on Planned Parenthood, to be led by Marsha Blackburn". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  25. ^ Blake, Aaron (January 29, 2017). "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". The Denver Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  26. ^ "Republican-controlled government sees chance to weaken Endangered Species Act". Ars Technica. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  27. ^ Scott, Eugene (February 8, 2017). "Duffy: 'There's a difference' on white terror and Muslim terror". CNN. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  28. ^ Dale, Daniel (July 25, 2018). "Republican congressman accuses Canada of 'economic terrorism'". Toronto Star. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  29. ^ Beck, Molly; Gilbert, Craig (August 26, 2019). "Sean Duffy says he's leaving Congress in September". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  30. ^ a b "H.R. 3192 (113th): Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Accountability Act of 2013". September 26, 2013. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  31. ^ a b Kasperowicz, Pete (April 17, 2018). "House to take another swing at Dodd-Frank reform". The Hill. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  32. ^ "House Members Introduce Bills Targeting CFPB Practices and Oversight". Bank-Insurance American Bankers Association. September 30, 2013. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  33. ^ "Congress to hear impact of regulations in Wausau",, October 31, 2011.
  34. ^ "Duffy Bill Addresses Puerto Rico Debt Crisis; Shields Americans from a Taxpayer Bailout". December 9, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  35. ^ "Pierluisi Introduces Legislation Authorizing U.S. Treasury Department to Guarantee Future Puerto Rico Bonds". October 8, 2015. Archived from the original on May 5, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  36. ^ "U.S. Senators Introduce Identical Companion Bill to H.R. 870, the Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act". July 15, 2015. Archived from the original on April 17, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  37. ^ Planas, Roque (December 9, 2015). "Puerto Rican Officials Say Congress' Inaction Will Lead To 'Humanitarian Crisis' On The Island". HuffPost. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  38. ^ House, Billy; Kaske, Michelle (April 13, 2016). "Puerto Rico Bill Stalls in House Amid Objections by Both Parties". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  39. ^ Hertel, Nora (November 20, 2014). "Duffy tapped for leadership position in House". Wausau Daily Herald. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  40. ^ Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, archived from the original on March 3, 2011, retrieved April 28, 2016
  41. ^ "Rep. Sean P. Duffy wins Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District seat". The Washington Post. November 8, 2018. Archived from the original on August 15, 2018.
  42. ^ Decision 2016: Wisconsin Results, NBC News
  43. ^ "Sean Duffy". WhoRunsGov/The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 14, 2010. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
  44. ^ a b Hunt, Kasie (October 20, 2010). "Sean Duffy's 'Real World' reprise". Politico. Archived from the original on September 23, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  45. ^ Campos-Duffy, Rachel. "I'm Expecting My 5th: What To Make Of The Trend In Bigger Families". Parent Dish, December 19, 2007.
  46. ^ Duffy, Sean. "Meet Sean Duffy". Duffy for Wisconsin. Archived from the original on October 24, 2020. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  47. ^ "Reality Couples: Rachel Campos". Latina. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
  48. ^ "Cast and Crew". The Wedding Video. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
  49. ^ Olivo, Rick (October 19, 2011). "Mr. Duffy moves to Weston". Sawyer County Record. Archived from the original on December 4, 2020.
  50. ^ Pabst, Georgia (May 11, 2013). "Rachel Campos-Duffy balances motherhood with activism". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on August 26, 2016. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  51. ^ "Wisconsin GOP Rep. Sean Duffy says he's resigning over baby's health issues". NBC News. August 26, 2019. Archived from the original on August 26, 2019. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  52. ^ Dater, Adrian (November 3, 2020). "Around the Rink: No Doubt the NHL Is in a Golden Age of Young Talent". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on November 5, 2016. Retrieved December 4, 2020.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative