'Counting On' Alum Jim Bob Duggar Announces Run for Arkansas Senate

Former TLC reality star Jim Bob Duggar announced on Friday that he intends to run for Arkansas State Senate. Before his days on 19 Kids and Counting, Duggar served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1998 until 2002. Duggar made the announcement on the family's official Facebook page

"I am honored to announce my candidacy for Arkansas State Senate District 7," Duggar wrote in a statement. "Northwest Arkansas is my lifelong home. 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. Our family has been blessed by God in so many ways. We've found His love and goodness to be our source of strength in both our most joyous occasions and our darkest moments. It's important to us to give back and to help others in every way we can." Duggar continued, claiming that he felt called back to the political sphere because "these are unprecedented times in our nation."

"The foundational principles that have made our nation great are under threat like never before," Duggar concluded. "Now more than ever, we need a bold voice that is pro-family, pro-business, pro-gun and pro-life. It's time for conservatives to demand courageous leadership that puts Arkansas families, jobs, and our constitutional liberties first. I look forward to being your voice in the Arkansas State Senate."

The decision for the father-of-20 to seek public office does come as a surprise considering the legal issues currently surrounding his oldest son, Josh Duggar. The former 19 Kids and Counting star was taken into custody by sheriffs in Arkansas on April 28, with no word on the cause of the arrest at the time. The following day he was transferred to the custody of U.S. Marshals and formally charged with possession of child pornography. Duggar pleaded "not guilty" to the charges and remained in custody until a bond hearing.

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Duggar has since been released on bond and is staying with a family friend. He is prohibited from having contact with minors, other than his own children. The father-of-six is reportedly allowed "unlimited contact" with his kids, however, his wife — who is currently pregnant with the couple's seventh child — must be present for the visits. His trial is set to begin in November.