It’s been a year and a half since Josh Duggar, one of the sprawling brood of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” moved his family to Washington to join the ranks of the city’s political operatives, reality-TV cameras in tow.
Since then, he and his wife, Anna, have continued to appear on the show, with a nonstop stream of guests popping in on them, providing zany plot points for the series, now in its ninth season.
But what has life in the capital really been like for the D.C. Duggars, the satellite branch of the country’s most famous mega-family, who just announced that they’re expecting their fourth child?
Duggar is finding professional success as the executive director of FRC Action, the political arm of the conservative-Christian Family Research Council. In the midterm elections, he notes, 88 percent of the candidates the group backed won. There’s lots of travel — he recently took a bus tour and has traveled more than 20 states — and in D.C., he’s likely to be found meeting with lawmakers (though he notes he’s not a lobbyist).
Having a recognizable name has helped him, he admits. “People know who our family is, that it’s built on strong faith and caring for people,” he said. “It’s been a great fit, it’s an extension of who we are.”
As for running for office himself, Duggar said he’s happy to stick to playing a supporting role. “Politics is quite a game — it puts things in perspective… I’m not planning to run anytime soon,” he said. “My focus is supporting those people who are doing the right thing.”
He’s finding that big, bad Washington isn’t the cesspool it’s made out to be. The family has bonded with other young families, some of whom they’ve met through the McLean Bible Church. “There are perceptions that people have about Washington, and I’ll say there is some truth to it — but there are a lot of good people here,” Duggar said.
Duggar misses the Southeastern Conference sports of his native Arkansas, and said he’s “trying to get into” rooting for the local teams.
And now that he and the elder Duggar kids are all grown up (the past season of the series centered on the wedding of his sister, Jill), there’s still plenty of TV-worthy drama, but it’s of a different, more adult kind.
“We’re in a whole new phase of our lives now,” he said. “I can’t believe how fast everyone is growing up.”
Including his own family.
Anna is due in early June, and the couple is already making plans, including mulling whether to have a home birth like they did for their first three. So… the question must be asked: Are the younger Duggars shooting for their own double-digit roster of kiddos?
“I usually let my wife answer that,” he deflects. “I’ll just say that we’ve got the hashtag “#4kids” for now.”
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