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Why is Republican Eric Hovde slow walking his senate campaign?

Hovde is reportedly prepared to spend eight figures of his own money on his campaign.

By Jesse Valentine - February 06, 2024
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For eighteen months, it has been an open secret that Republican bank executive Eric Hovde is planning to challenge Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in 2024. But now, the continued delay of his campaign launch is raising questions about Hovde’s viability.

Hovde is the CEO of Sunwest Bank, a financial firm based in Irvine, California. He previously ran for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin in 2012 but failed to advance past the Republican primary. He was reportedly recruited by the National Republican Senatorial Committee to run again in 2024.

“I’m taking a very serious, hard look at the Senate race,” Hovde first told the Wisconsin State Journal in April 2022.

Throughout 2023, there were various signs that Hovde was building a campaign infrastructure. In June, The Hill reported that Hovde was in the early stages of assembling a campaign staff. In August, the Washington Examiner said Hovde was meeting with Republican consultants. By December, Hovde had reportedly retained a senior adviser.

On Dec. 7, 2023, NRSC chairman Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) said Hovde was definitely running.

“Eric Hovde is gonna get in that race,” Daines told a reporter. “We’re behind him.”

Hovde is now expected to announce his candidacy after the Super Bowl.

By delaying his campaign launch, Hovde may also be delaying media scrutiny. Despite owning property in Wisconsin, Hovde reportedly spends most of his time in Laguna Beach, California. In 2022, he backed an unpopular plan by Sen. Rick Scott to raise taxes on poorer workers and retirees.

Hovde is also extremely wealthy. The Hill reported that Hovde is planning to spend tens of millions of his own money on the campaign. This ability to self-finance enables Hovde to delay his campaign launch longer than other candidates.

A spokesperson for Hovde did not respond to a request to comment for this story.


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