Hedge fund manager Eric Hovde's surge in the polls in Wisconsin's U.S. Senate race has been financed almost entirely by Hovde himself—and has earned the Hovde Capital Advisors founder an attack ad against him.
According to campaign finance reports, Hovde has donated $4 million of his own fortune to his bid for the Republican nomination for the seat being vacated by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.). He has raised less than 10% of that total, just $350,000, from donors.
Hovde's bid for the nod may have appeared quixotic at the outset, as he faced former Gov. Tommy Thompson, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann for the right to face off against Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin in November. But Hovde has surged into second place—or first, according to one poll—in recent surveys, behind only Thompson, who served as Health and Human Services Secretary under President George W. Bush.
The man in third in most of those polls, Neumann, this week launched an attack ad against Hovde, accusing him of backing billions in federal spending on high-speed rail and bank bailouts. It also attacks Hovde for having donated to former Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat.
"Eric Hovde: Too liberal with the truth. And your money," the ad accuses.
Neumann has spent $1.4 million on the race so far; Hovde has spent $3.8 million.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Hovde is the fifth-largest "self-funder" among this year's Senate candidates.