Hedgie Hovde Surges In Wisc. Senate Race

Jul 12 2012 | 10:03am ET

Hedge fund manager Eric Hovde's bid for a U.S. Senate seat from Wisconsin may have looked quixotic. But buoyed by a richly self-financed campaign, Hovde hasn't just made it a race: He's made himself a favorite.

The Hovde Capital Advisors and Hovde Private Equity Advisors founder leads the race, according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling. The poll is the first to show Hovde leading the race, although his support has been climbing.

According to the poll, Hovde is the choice of 31% of Republican primary voters, besting popular former governor and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, the choice of 29%. Hovde's lead is within the poll's 4.1% margin of error.

Another recent poll shows Hovde trailing Thompson, 35% to 23%.

Hovde has spent some $3 million to make himself known to the state's voters; his three opponents are all well-known politicians, including Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann.

If Hovde does emerge the winner of the Aug. 14 primary, he'll face Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin in November. PPP's poll shows both Thompson and Hovde all but tied with Baldwin.

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