GOP Businessman Hovde to Enter Wisconsin US Senate Race Against Baldwin

Credits: PBS Wisconsin

Multimillionaire Republican businessman Eric Hovde is preparing to announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Hovde, 59, will officially launch his campaign next week, according to his campaign spokesperson Ben Voelkel.

The race against Baldwin is crucial for Democrats, who are aiming to maintain majority control of the Senate. With Democrats defending 23 Senate seats in November, compared to just 11 seats for Republicans, the outcome in Wisconsin will be closely watched.

Hovde has been laying the groundwork for his campaign, securing support from the National Republican Senatorial Committee and hiring staff. He has also been actively participating in Republican events across the state.

GOP Businessman, Hovde (Credits: IdahoPTV Passport)

This will not be his first Senate bid; he ran in 2012 but lost in the Republican primary to former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who was then defeated by Baldwin.

In his previous Senate run, Hovde positioned himself as a free-market conservative, advocating for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and opposing abortion rights. However, since then, he has largely stayed out of the public eye, except for a television ad in 2020 criticizing Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ COVID-19 response.

Hovde’s business interests include Hovde Properties, a real estate development company founded by his grandfather, and three banking companies. He is the CEO of Sunwest Bank and owns a $7 million estate in Laguna Beach, California, in addition to his property in Madison.

Other potential Republican candidates for the Senate seat include Franklin businessman Scott Mayer and former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. However, higher-profile Republicans like U.S. Reps. Tom Tiffany and Mike Gallagher have decided against running.

Baldwin, who won reelection by 11 points in her last race, is known as a strong campaigner with broad support across Wisconsin. She has already indicated that she plans to focus on abortion rights in this year’s Senate race.

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