Hedge Fund Manager Faces Wisc. Voters

Aug 14 2012 | 12:23pm ET

Wisconsin voters go to the polls today to determine whether hedge fund manager Eric Hovde's bid for the Senate will move forward.

The Hovde Capital Management founder is one of four men vying for the Republican nomination for one of the state's two U.S. Senate seats. The winner will face Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in November for the seat being vacated by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.).

Hovde's bid was seen as somewhat quixotic when he announced it in August. Hovde has lived in Washington, D.C, where both Hovde Capital and Hovde Private Equity Advisors are based, for most of the last 25 years, and the political neophyte was going up against three veterans of the Wisconsin political scene.  But Hovde has trumpeted his business acumen and poured millions of his own fortune into the race; some polls show that he's now in a statistical dead heat with former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who also served as secretary of health and human development under Pres. George W. Bush.

Hovde has spent some $5.5 million on the race. He also faces Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann in today's primary, which is open, meaning that all voters—be they Republicans, Democrats or independents—can choose to cast their ballot in the G.O.P. primary.

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