BREAKING: Jim Bob Duggar from ’19 Kids and Counting’ announces he is running for Arkansas Senate as a REPUBLICAN

Jim Bob Duggar, the father on the reality TV show “19 Kids and Counting,” announced Friday he is running for a seat in the Arkansas Senate.

Duggar wrote in a news release that government mandates and “out-of-control bureaucrats” prompted his run. The seat opened Thursday when state Sen. Lance Eads resigned from his position to take a job at Capitol Consulting Firm, a lobbying company based in Little Rock. Eads had won re-election to his seat in Northwest Arkansas in 2020. A special election will be called to fill the District 7 seat. It represents part of Washington County, including part of Springdale, Johnson, Goshen and Elkins.

Jim Bob Duggar, a longtime resident of Tontitown, has a history in Arkansas politics. He is a Republican and served two terms as an Arkansas state legislator from 1998 to 2003. Duggar ran for U.S. Senate in 2002 and lost to incumbent Tim Hutchinson in the Republican primary. The family also took part in Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

Jim Bob Duggar’s 2002 senate run gave his large family a national profile. This led to a documentary and eventually a reality television show on TLC, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas. That show was originally titled “17 Kids and Counting” when it debuted in 2008. It was renamed “18 Kids and Counting” then later “19 Kids and Counting,” with the title reflecting the number of children born to Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar.

The series showcased the Duggar family’s daily life, including their religious beliefs and parenting values. It was canceled by TLC in 2015 and removed from Hulu following the sexual misconduct allegations against the Duggar’s oldest son, Joshua Duggar. Jim Bob appeared in a spinoff series, “Counting On” from 2015 to 2021. It was canceled after Joshua Duggar’s arrest [Chron].

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