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Jul 13 / Elizabeth DiNovella

GOP Picks Millionaire to Run in Wisconsin Senate Race

Remember when Russ Feingold used to brag he was the poorest man in the Senate? Feingold was one of the few non-millionaires there. As we all know, Feingold lost to 1 percenter Ron Johnson in 2010.

Wisconsin’s other Senate seat is currently held by another millionaire, Democrat Herb Kohl, who is retiring from office. His seat will be up for grabs in the November election.

Representative Tammy Baldwin will be the nominee for the Democrats.

The Republicans will decide who their candidate is in the August 14 primary. A handful of conservatives have thrown their hats in, but the race is tightening between two candidates: former governor Tommy Thompson and former D.C. hedge find banker Eric Hovde.

Polls released this week by two different firms paint two scenarios. The Public Policy Polling survey shows Hovde with a slight lead over Thompson. The Marquette Law School poll gives Thompson a twelve-point advantage over Hovde.

Regardless of who leads in the polls, though, the eventual GOP candidate will be far wealthier than most Wisconsinites.

Thompson has done very well for himself after he left the governor’s mansion, and reported $13 million in assets in his latest financial statement. But Thompson’s wealth is no match for Hovde’s.

Hovde is the wealthiest candidate in the race, with at least $50 million in assets, according to his most recent financial statement.

(Baldwin, meanwhile, has averaged an income around $170,000 over the past ten years. Chump change.)

Hovde, like Johnson, will use his massive wealth to fund his campaign. He plans to spend $1.5 million worth of TV ads over the next five weeks leading up to the August 14 primary.

Johnson successfully bought a Senate seat. Can Hovde buy a primary?

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