Jim Bob Duggar, the father of the family featured in the reality TV show "19 Kids and Counting," announced on the Duggar family Facebook page Friday that he is running for a seat in the Arkansas Senate. Duggar previously served as a state representative before the start of his family's TLC show.
Duggar said he is running to represent the state's seventh district.
"Northwest Arkansas is my lifelong home," Duggar said on Facebook. "It's where my wife Michelle and I have raised our 20 children. It's where we've grown our small businesses. It's where we've built a life centered around our faith, family, and friends."
He said he's running for the senate seat "because these are unprecedented times in our nation."
"Out-of-control bureaucrats have put politics over common-sense policy with government mandates that force people to choose between earning a paycheck and violating their personal rights and beliefs," Duggar said. "The foundational principles that have made our nation great are under threat like never before."
This is not Duggar's first time running for political office. He previously served in the Arkansas House of Representatives for the sixth district from 1999 to 2003. In 2002, he unsuccessfully ran in the Republican primary against Senator Tim Hutchinson for a seat in the U.S. Senate, according to the New York Times. Four years later, he made another unsuccessful run, this time against Bill Pritchard for the Republican nomination for the Arkansas Senate.
Duggar said Friday that he plans to represent a "bold voice that is pro-family, pro-business, pro-gun and pro-life" — stances he also advocated for in his previous campaigns.
"It's time for conservatives to demand courageous leadership that puts Arkansas families, jobs, and our constitutional liberties first," he said.
On a campaign website he created during his U.S. Senate run and has since taken down, Duggar, who is Baptist, said that it is "impossible to separate" his Christian faith from his political work.
"Faith in Christ MUST permeate every area of my life," he said.
On the website, Duggar also said he supports the "eventual elimination" of the Department of Education, as well as legislation to repeal bans of semi-automatic firearms and limited magazine capacity.
"I am a member of the National Rifle Association and support the right to bear arms. I believe it is not what is in the hand, but what is in the heart," his website said, adding that "families should determine their own gun safety and storage" and children should be taught gun safety either by their parents or at school.
TLC has followed Duggar's family since 2008, beginning with the show "17 Kids and Counting." The name of the show adapted as their family continued to grow. Duggar and his wife Michelle Duggar have 19 children of their own, all with names beginning with the letter J. Their great-nephew, Tyler, also lives with the family.
The show was canceled in 2015 when their eldest son, Josh Duggar, was accused of molesting several girls, including some of his sisters. TLC created a spin-off, "Counting On," to follow the lives of the eldest children.
Josh Duggar waswith two counts of downloading and possessing child pornography earlier this year. He now faces up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000 for each count.
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