Sean Duffy

Candidate Profile |

Sean Duffy won election to Congress in November 2010, defeating Democratic state Sen. Julie Lassa with 52 percent of the vote. He landed a spot on the House Financial Services Committee, serving on the panel's Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit; and Insurance, Housing, and Community Opportunity subcommittees. He also secured a spot on the House Joint Economic Committee. He faces former Democratic state Sen. Pat Kreitlow in the November 2012 general election.

Duffy co-sponsored a bill that cleared the way for construction of a new four-lane bridge spanning the St. Croix River between Minnesota and Wisconsin. President Barack Obama signed the measure into law in March 2012.

He introduced a bill that would halt economic stimulus payments and redirect any unobligated stimulus dollars toward paying down the national debt. He introduced another bill that would repeal the 2010 health care reform measure, which was Obama's signature legislation.

Duffy started running for Congress in 2009, presenting himself as a fiscally conservative alternative to incumbent Democratic Rep. David Obey.

As Duffy's campaign picked up steam, Obey shocked the political establishment in Wisconsin by announcing his retirement after 41 years in office. Duffy's supporters took credit for forcing Obey out of the race, but Obey said he was confident he could win re-election and was simply "bone tired."

After Obey's departure, Lassa entered the race for the seat representing central and northern Wisconsin.

Duffy used his role in the "Real World" to draw attention to his campaign early, but then began downplaying his ties to reality television and playing up another part of his unusual background: his past as a professional lumberjack athlete.

In campaign ads that show him chopping down a tree, he promises to "bring the axe" to Washington to target federal spending. In another spot, he is shown spinning on a log in a lake while he dumps a "career politician" off into the water. His campaign often asks supporters to "Roll with Sean."

Duffy has said he was not in favor of the 2009 approximately $800 billion economic stimulus package, calling it misguided for adding to the nation's debt while failing to revive the economy.

Duffy said he opposes gay marriage, even though he once appeared in a low-budget, parody movie about a gay wedding called "The Wedding Video."

Democrats have claimed he supports privatizing Social Security, based on a comment in which he expressed support for a wide-ranging Republican budget plan. But Duffy has said more recently that he does not support privatizing Social Security, though he said changes are needed to secure the program's future.

Lassa's campaign tried to make Duffy's tenure as Ashland County district attorney an issue in the 2010 race. In an ad, Lassa's campaign shows an assistant district attorney calling Duffy a "no-show" for being out of the office routinely to campaign while crime victims waited for justice. Duffy's campaign dismissed the ad as a partisan attack.

Committee Assignments: Financial Services; Joint Economic

American Conservative Union Rating: 88

Americans for Democratic Action Rating: 5

Source: Associated Press

Race Snapshot: Wisconsin House District 7


Sean Duffy (R)

Pat Kreitlow (D)

Race Rating: Lean Republican

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