Sean Duffy (copy)

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis. speaks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington in this file photo. 

Gov. Tony Evers has scheduled a special election for Jan. 27 to fill outgoing Republican Rep. Sean Duffy's northern Wisconsin seat in Congress. 

Meanwhile, a primary — if required — would take place on Dec. 30. 

The announcement comes the same day as Duffy's official resignation from the 7th Congressional District, which the Wausau Republican is leaving ahead of the birth of his ninth child. Duffy's resignation is effective at 5 p.m. 

Duffy's child is due in late October and has a heart condition, prompting Duffy to announce last month his plans to step down. He said then 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 special election does not line up with Wisconsin's April 7 presidential primary and state Supreme Court election, a move some have said could help put the red district in play for Democrats. 

But the governor's office said scheduling the vote for April would have left the district without representation for more than six months.

“The people of Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District deserve to have a voice in Congress, which is why I am calling for a special election to occur quickly to ensure the people of the 7th Congressional District have representation as soon as possible," Evers said in a statement. 

Already, Republican state Sen. Tom Tiffany, of Minocqua, has officially launched his bid for the seat. Other possible GOP candidates include Jason Church, a retired Army officer, and Wausau surgeon Fernando "Fritz" Riveron, per media reports. 

Among Democrats, potential contenders include Rep. Nick Milroy, of South Range, Sen. Janet Bewley, of Mason, and Margaret Engebretson, who ran for the seat last year as a first-time candidate, losing to Duffy.

Whoever wins the special election will have to again prep for and win a regularly scheduled November 2020 election to keep the seat. 

Duffy's two-year term is set to expire in 2021. 

Duffy, 47, has been considered a potential U.S. Senate or gubernatorial candidate in 2022. He has held the 7th Congressional District seat since he was first elected in 2010. Last fall, he won re-election to his fifth term, carrying the sprawling district by more than 20 percentage points.

The Cook Political Report's 2020 House rankings rate the open seat as "likely Republican." Previous ratings, before Duffy announced his retirement, showed the seat was "solid Republican," with a plus-8 GOP advantage. 

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

Briana Reilly covers state government and politics for the Cap Times. She joined the staff in 2019, after working at WisPolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter at @briana_reilly.