Hedgie Hovde Loses Opponent For Senate Nod

May 1 2012 | 3:07am ET

Hedge fund manager Eric Hovde's road to the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat from Wisconsin just got marginally easier.

Kip Smith, a physical therapist, ended his longshot campaign to win the seat being vacated by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.). Of course, Smith's exit—to come today at 10 a.m. in Rhinelander—still leaves Hovde with at least three opponents for the G.O.P. nod, all of whom have political experience, unlike the Hovde Capital Advisors and Hovde Private Equity Advisors founder.

Former Wisconsin governor and U.S. health and human services secretary Tommy Thompson, former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann and Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald all remain in the race; a primary will decide the nominee on Aug. 14.

Hovde entered the race last month. His father was an official in the Ronald Reagan administration in the 1980s.

While Hovde doesn't have the political pedigree that his remaining opponents boast, he certainly won't run into Smith's main problem: fundraising. Smith said his decision to exit the race was based "mostly on the difficulty in raising the funds necessary to continue."

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