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Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Hovde is running for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin despite primarily residing in California.

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
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When Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde first ran for office in 2012, he boasted that he was a “third generation Wisconsinite.” Now, he says he is a “fourth generation Wisconsinite.” 

The inconsistency is adding to a growing controversy concerning Hovde’s dubious ties to the Badger State.

Hovde is the CEO of California based Sunwest Bank. While Hovde owns property in Wisconsin, his primary residence has been Orange County, California. He launched his current bid for the U.S. Senate in Wisconsin on Feb. 20. He ran unsuccessfully for the same seat in 2012.

During his 2012 campaign, Hovde responded to accusations of carpetbagging by touting his Wisconsin roots.

“I’m a third-generation Wisconsinite,” Hovde told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in July 2012. “I was born here, I was raised here. I graduated from East High, went to the University of Wisconsin. I graduated from there. I’ve been back here nonstop.”

Hovde repeated this claim in at least two subsequent interviews with Fox 6 Milwaukee and the La Crosse Tribune. It also appears on the website for the charitable organization Hovde runs with his brother, Steve.

“Eric and Steve are the third generation of Hovdes who grew up in Madison,” the website says.

Now, Hovde claims to be a fourth generation Wisconsinite. He first made this statement in a Feb. 21 radio interview on the Jay Weber Show.

“I’m a fourth-generation Wisconsinite,” Hovde said. “I was born here, raised here. I’m a proud Badger who went to the University of Wisconsin.”

That same day, Hovde’s campaign sent a fundraising email with the same language.

“I’m NOT a career politician,” the email says. “I’m a proud husband, father, business owner, and fourth-generation Wisconsinite.”

A Hovde spokesperson responded to questions for this story by providing a link to Hovde’s campaign launch speech. The speech does not clarify if Hovde is a third or fourth generation Wisconsinite.

In addition to his Orange County estate, Hovde also owned a $2.3 million home in Washington D.C. Hovde transferred the property to his brother in August 2023.

If Hovde secures the Republican nomination, he will face off against incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin in November. Hovde has been endorsed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.


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