Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Republican Eric Hovde officially enters Wisconsin Senate race against Tammy Baldwin

By 37ci3 Feb20,2024

Wisconsin businessman Eric Hovde officially launched his Senate campaign on Tuesday, finally running against Republican Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. decisive battleground a race that could determine control of the ward.

His announcement 30 second video, ending months of speculation on who the GOP will face against Baldwin, a powerful and well-funded incumbent.

“Our country is facing huge problems. Our economy, our health care, crime and open borders. Everything is going in the wrong direction,” Hovde said in the video.

“All Washington is doing is dividing us and saying who’s to blame and nothing is being done. This is not the country I know and love,” he adds. Hovde then introduces himself and says, “I am running for the United States Senate.”

Campaign spokesman Ben Voelkel told NBC News that Hovde will hold a “special announcement” in Madison on Tuesday afternoon.

Hovden, a multi-millionaire whose business empire includes a Madison-based real estate company and several banks on the West Coast, is expected to partially fund his campaign himself. Having run for office before, he has the benefit of some name recognition among voters — though Marquette University Law School query found last month more than eight in 10 registered voters in the state do not know enough about Hovde to form an opinion about him.

But while Republicans see Wisconsin as one of the party’s top pick-up opportunities this fall, defeating Baldwin, a two-term senator and big fundraiser, won’t be easy — even in a presidential year. sensitive official Democrat at the top of the ticket.

That’s largely because state and national Democrats, who expected Hovden to enter the race within months after two prominent Republican members of Congress decided not to run, attacked continuously a newly nominated candidate to live out of state for a few years and run the banks worth billions of dollars.

Losing no time in pursuing this strategy, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin criticized Hovden as soon as he took office, calling him “California Hovde” because he owns it. 7 million dollar estate He lives in Laguna Beach and has lived in the state since 2012.

“California bank owner Eric Hovde is running for Senate to push his personal agenda, favoring the ultra-rich like himself over middle-class Wisconsinites,” said Arik Wolk, rapid response director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “California Hovde’s self-serving agenda and attacks on Wisconsinites’ liberties are exactly why Wisconsinites will reject him and send him back to his $7 million California mansion.”

Baldwin’s allies have also spent the past few months emphasizing Hovden’s 2018. named As one of the most influential men in Orange County.

Hovden’s allies also came out swinging against Baldwin.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the official campaign arm of the Senate GOP — whose chairman, Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont. signaled in early December that the group will support Hovde’s run – he published advertising On Tuesday afternoon, Baldwin drew criticism for his comments about the need to stay at home during the Covid pandemic, criticizing him for not taking on “special interests”.

“Tammy says one thing, does another,” says the ad’s narrator.

Daines praised Hovden in his statement.

“Erik Hovden’s experience as a business creator, not a career politician, makes him a strong candidate to flip the Wisconsin Senate seat this year,” Daines said.

Hovden’s political career in Wisconsin includes an unsuccessful 2012 Senate bid against former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson — who lost the general election to Baldwin. Hovde too he flirted He ran against Baldwin again in 2018 and was considered a gubernatorial candidate in 2022, but he decided against both races.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., on January 25, 2024 in Superior, Wis.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., on Jan. 25 in Superior, Wis. Alex Brandon / AP file

Hovden’s decision to run this year caps a months-long odyssey for Republicans in Wisconsin, during which several potential candidates declined to challenge Baldwin.

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., was once considered a top recruit by national Republicans. he said in june he said he would not run and only this month retires Completely from Congress. Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Wis., decided against the proposal two months later.

However, Hovde may yet face a challenger for the GOP nomination. Another Wisconsin businessman, Scott Mayer, has been flirting with running for months.

Asked by NBC News on Friday if he would enter the race, Mayer wrote in a text message that he was “not sure” and would decide in “a month.”

Republicans they said hoping to avoid a controversial initial meeting between two wealthy businessmen.

Wisconsin has Democrats enjoyed a successful run In recent years. Since Donald Trump’s surprise victory in Wisconsin in the 2016 presidential election, Democrats and Democratic-leaning candidates have won 15 of the last 18 state races.

But Republicans have proven they can still win statewide: Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., won re-election to his seat in 2022, giving the party an election. road map On what Hovden’s path to victory might look like.

More broadly, Democrats are fighting an uphill battle to retain control of the Senate. Democrats need to defend 23 seats in November — including two held by independents who have joined with Democrats — while Republicans need to defend just 11.

Nonpartisan Cook has a Political Report evaluated “Lean Democrat” Wisconsin Senate Race.

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