Trump Is Pushing Former Reality TV Star Sean Duffy to Enter Wisconsin Gubernatorial Race

Former President Donald Trump is encouraging former Real World star and Republican Congressman Sean Duffy to run for governor in Wisconsin.

In a statement on Saturday, Trump praised Duffy, calling him "very popular and capable."

"He would be fantastic!" the former president said in a statement Saturday. "A champion athlete, Sean loves the people of Wisconsin, and would be virtually unbeatable. His wife, Rachel, is likewise an incredible person."

Duffy served in Congress from 2011 until 2019 and represented Wisconsin's conservative 7th district, which covers the northwest part of the state. He retired from politics due to his unborn child's heart condition.

In the statement, Trump acknowledged that a gubernatorial run would be a "sacrifice" for the former congressman and his family.

"They are both doing very well, so this would be a big sacrifice, but hopefully it will be a sacrifice that will be made for the Great State of Wisconsin and its wonderful, hardworking people," Trump said.

He added: "Run Sean, Run!"

Duffy was formerly on MTV's The Real World: Boston and served as the Ashland County district attorney. His wife, Rachel Campos-Duffy, is also a Real World alumnus from the San Francisco season of the series and a host on Fox News.

Following his resignation, Duffy became a senior counsel at BGR Group, a Republican-leaning lobbying firm, Politico reported. A former chair of the House Financial Service's housing subcommittee, he worked at the firm's financial services practice.

The Wisconsin gubernatorial race is expected to be one of the most competitive elections in 2022. Incumbent Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, narrowly flipped the governor's office in 2018, winning by just over one point against former Republican Governor Scott Walker. Last year, President Joe Biden won the state by less than one point after Trump carried it in 2016.

The competitive nature of the race has drawn GOP challengers. Former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and businessman Jonathan Wichmann have already announced their plans to run against Evers.

The race is likely to be close, according to polls. An August Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll found Evers with a modest lead over both challengers. A head-to-head match against Duffy, who hasn't announced whether he intends to run, has not yet been polled.

On the Democratic side, Evers has already announced his plans to run for re-election and is expected to easily win the Democratic primary. He has faced opposition from Republicans recently over voting policies and mask mandates.

Newsweek reached out to Duffy for comment Saturday but had not heard back by publication. This story will be updated with any response.

Former Representative Sean Duffy
Former President Trump is pushing former U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy to run for governor in Wisconsin. Here, Duffy is seen speaking in Tampa, Florida in August 2012. Mark Wilson/Getty Images