Eric Hovde Enters Race for Tammy Baldwin’s Senate Seat in Wisconsin - The World News

Eric Hovde Enters Race for Tammy Baldwin’s Senate Seat in Wisconsin

Eric Hovde, a Wisconsin businessman, on Tuesday announced his campaign for the Senate seat held by Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, giving Republicans a prominent candidate in the state after two sitting members of Congress declined to run.

“Do you feel like America is slipping away?” Mr. Hovde said in his announcement video. “Our country is facing enormous challenges. Our economy, our health care, crime and open borders — everything is going in the wrong direction. All Washington does is divide us and talk about who’s to blame, and nothing gets done.”

“I believe we need to come together and find common-sense solutions to restore America,” he added in the video, which did not mention Ms. Baldwin, other Democrats or Republicans.

Mr. Hovde, the multimillionaire founder of H Bancorp LLC and the chief executive of a real estate development company, is the most prominent candidate to enter the Republican race so far. He ran for Senate once before, losing the Republican primary in 2012, and considered running for Senate in 2018 and governor in 2022, but decided against it.

Wisconsin is in the second tier of Republicans’ targets this year as the party tries to win control of the Senate. It is a closely divided state where Donald J. Trump won in 2016 but Joseph R. Biden Jr. won in 2020 — and where a Democratic governor won re-election in 2022 — and it poses a bigger challenge for Republicans than the red states of Montana, Ohio and West Virginia. But it is likely to be competitive.

Ms. Baldwin quickly used the news of Mr. Hovde’s entrance to ask for campaign donations, posting on social media that this “will be my most competitive and expensive race yet.” A spokesman for the Wisconsin Democratic Party said in a statement that Mr. Hovde would put “ultrarich people like himself ahead of middle-class Wisconsinites” and would vote to ban abortion, cut Social Security benefits and repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Both responses also hit on a point that Democrats are likely to hammer in the coming months: Mr. Hovde owns property, and has intermittently lived, in California.

Representatives Mike Gallagher and Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin, Republicans who had been seen as potential recruits, said last year that they would not challenge Ms. Baldwin.

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