Report: Hovde put $4M of own money into Senate run
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican Eric Hovde has put $4 million of his own money into his U.S. Senate bid, newly released campaign finance reports show.
Filings with the Federal Election Commission posted online Tuesday show Hovde, a hedge fund manager in his first run for office, contributed $3.75 million to his campaign and loaned it another $250,000. He has spent $3.8 million since entering the race March 8.
Hovde faces former Gov. Tommy Thompson, former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann and state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald in the Aug. 14 primary. The winner will advance to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin in the race to fill the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl. Republicans view the seat as one of at least three they need to win majority control of the Senate.
Hovde's personal wealth has given him an advantage over the other Republicans seeking the GOP nomination. Hovde has spent an estimated $3 million on television ads since early April, easily outpacing his GOP rivals as he attempts to build name recognition with the primary just a month away.
That name recognition is vital for Hovde as he faces Thompson, who served as governor for 14 years but who hasn't been on the ballot in Wisconsin since 1998.
Neumann, who has spent millions of his own money on past races, has yet to tap into his personal wealth for the Senate campaign. He has benefited from the Club for Growth, a conservative anti-tax interest group, spending on his behalf to run a television ad attacking both Hovde and Thompson.
Over the most recent three-month reporting period ending in June, Thompson led all Republicans with $834,000 followed by Neumann at $733,000, Hovde with $237,000 and Fitzgerald at $41,000.
Baldwin, the only Democrat in the race, raised more than all four Republicans combined in the most recent quarter, collecting $2.2 million compared to their $1.8 million.
Baldwin announced her fundraising totals last week and the Republicans released theirs on Monday. Detailed reports showing how much they've spent, and how much they've given their own campaigns, were being posted Tuesday on the FEC website.
Hovde reported having about $547,000 cash on hand. Neumann has about $790,000. Thompson said he had $764,000 cash on hand. Fitzgerald's report listing that was not immediately available.
Baldwin's campaign said she had $3.5 million cash on hand.
A Marquette University Law School poll released last week showed Hovde had gained on Thompson, but he still trailed him 35 percent to 23 percent. Neumann was third at 10 percent and Fitzgerald was last at 6 percent. Twenty-five percent were undecided, the same as in the prior month's poll.
The race was within the 4.8 percentage point margin of error for matchups between Baldwin and each of the four Republicans.