Apr 22, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Hovde's brother bankrolling super PAC

Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Wisconsin Eric Hovde arrives to speak at a rally hosted by President Donald Trump on April 02, 2024 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde of Wisconsin arrives to speak at a rally hosted by former President Trump on April 2 in Green Bay. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Eric Hovde's brother is almost exclusively bankrolling a Super PAC supporting the Wisconsin Republican's Senate campaign, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Hovde, a wealthy banker, is spending millions of his own money on his campaign and is now benefiting from his brother's large contributions.

  • Steve Hovde contributed $1 million to Fix Washington PAC, the pro-Hovde outfit, in February, according to Federal Election Commission records.
  • The brothers are business partners, both serving as executives for their real estate company and owning a controlling interest in Sunwest Bank, which has more than $2.7 billion in assets.
  • Eric Hovde is seeking to unseat Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) as Democrats cling to a slim Senate majority.

Follow the money: Steve Hovde's contribution to the PAC accounted for almost all of the $1.03 million it raised in the first quarter of this year.

  • The PAC spent over $220,000 on digital ads backing Eric Hovde and criticizing Baldwin this month.
  • The ads slammed Baldwin as a "career politician" and praised Eric Hovde's record as a businessman and job creator.

The big picture: Eric Hovde is just one of a number of GOP Senate candidates who are self-financing their campaigns this election cycle.

  • Eric Hovde loaned his campaign $8 million in the first quarter of this year. Hovde has spun his self-financing of his campaign as a positive, arguing that he is not beholden to special interests.
  • Ohio's Bernie Moreno loaned his campaign $1.5 million to start the year, Montana's Tim Sheehy loaned his campaign $500,000 and Pennsylvania's Dave McCormick loaned himself nearly $1 million.

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told Axios that Eric Hovde is a "flawed candidate" and argued there is a "clear contrast" between the Republican and Baldwin.

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