Republican Eric Hovde opts out of run for Wisconsin governor

Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison

Republican businessman Eric Hovde said Friday that he will not run for governor this year, but he is considering a second run for U.S. Senate in 2024.

Hovde's decision not to get into the race leaves former Gov. Tommy Thompson and businessman Tim Michels as the two highest-profile potential Republican candidates still considering it. Candidates could start circulating nominating papers on Friday to get on the ballot and they have until June 1 to obtain the 2,000 signatures necessary.

Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, businessman Kevin Nicholson and state Rep. Tim Ramthun are all running. The winner of the Aug. 9 primary will face Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in November.

Despite being beaten by Thompson in the 2012 Senate primary, Hovde indicated he would likely get his endorsement should he enter the race.

Hovde said he knows and likes Kleefisch, but he has never met Nicholson or Ramthun. Ramthun is a vocal supporter of decertifying the 2020 presidential election win in Wisconsin by President Joe Biden, a move that numerous attorneys have said is impossible and that Republican legislative leaders do not support.

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"Pitching something that has no legal ability makes no sense to me," Hovde said.

The Senate seat Hovde is considering running for in 2024 is held by Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.


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