Republican Eric Hovde announces candidacy for U.S. Senate

MILWAUKEE -- Republican hedge fund manager Eric Hovde, a political newcomer from Madison, is throwing his hat into the ring. He announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate Thursday -- making campaign stops in Milwaukee, Dane, Green Bay and Eau Claire.

Hovde is chief executive officer of Hovde Capital Advisors, which manages hedge funds. He also oversees real estate investments, community banks and a charitable family foundation.

Hovde joins a crowded Republican side of the ticket that includes former Gov. Tommy Thompson, state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann. The only Democratic candidate is U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin.

The most obvious distinction between Hovde and his competitors is he's never held political office.

"Look, career politicians, what happens when they blow the budget? They either raise people's taxes or they continue to borrow more money," Hovde said during a news conference Thursday.

Hovde is a native of Madison. But the Democratic Party of Wisconsin calls Hovde a carpetbagger, who has been living and working in Washington, D.C.

"Wisconsin doesn't need a DC hedge fund manager coming here and telling working class people how they should feel, how they should give up social security and medicare so people like him can pay less in taxes," Graeme Zielinski, Democratic Party Communications Director said.

"All I can do is laugh at that. You know they are going to throw things. That is the unfortunate thing about politics today. Instead of talking about the real issues they want to go around and throw a bunch of names," Hovde said.

The U.S. Senate race is to replace retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl.

The Republican primary is August 14th.