Skip to content
In this Aug. 15, 2012 file photo, Eric Hovde, candidate for the U.S. Senate, gives his concession speech to supporters during his election night party in Peaukee, Wis. Hovde has launched a television ad arguing for the immediate reopening of business in Wisconsin. It’s the latest push by conservatives for a faster end to Wisconsin’s “safer at home” order to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn File)

Eric Hovde transferred a $2.3 million property he owned with his wife to his brother months before launching a bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported Tuesday.

Hovde transferred the home, which he originally purchased in 2018, in August 2023, a few months after the Journal-Sentinel reported that Hovde was strongly considering a challenge to incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

A spokesperson for Hovde’s Senate campaign told the Journal-Sentinel that Hovde’s brother, Steven, was supposed to be the trustee of the house and that the transfer was correcting an error an attorney made. The spokesperson added that the Washington, D.C., property was mostly for his wife, Sharon, who used it when she “visited and helped care for her parents (her father has subsequently passed) and to visit their daughter,” who lived in the D.C. area.

Wisconsin Democrats are already seizing on the fact that Hovde has expensive real estate holdings outside of the state. 

Hovde has been living in a $7 million estate in Laguna Beach, California, which he purchased in 2018. 

“Eric Hovde, too embarrassed following the revelation he has been spending most of his time in Laguna Beach, tries to dump a DC house on his brother hoping no one would notice. Perfect way to start his campaign for Wisconsin Senator,” Hannah Menchhoff, a press secretary for Senate Majority PAC, which works to elect Democrats to the Senate, posted on X. 

Hovde was not Republicans’ first choice to run against Baldwin.

National Republicans tried to recruit Rep. Mike Gallagher. However, Gallagher passed up the chance to run and is now retiring from Congress altogether when his term expires next January. Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI) also declined to run.

This will not be Hovde’s first bid for a U.S. Senate seat.

In 2012, Hovde lost the Republican primary to former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson. Thompson went on to lose to Baldwin in the general election. 

Hovde considered a second run for Senate in 2018 against Baldwin, but decided against it. 

Democratic Party officials plan to make Hovde’s residency a focus of their attacks.

“California bank owner Eric Hovde is running for Senate to impose his self-serving agenda, putting ultra rich people like himself ahead of middle-class Wisconsinites,” Arik Wolk, Democratic Party of Wisconsin rapid response director, said in a statement. “Hovde would vote to pass a national abortion ban, raise taxes on working families and seniors while cutting Social Security and Medicare, and repeal the Affordable Care Act. California Hovde is set up for a bruising primary battle with fellow GOP megamillionaire Scott Mayer, but his self-serving agenda and attacks on Wisconsinites’ freedoms are exactly why Wisconsinites will reject him and send him back to his $7 million California mansion.”

Republicans are targeting Wisconsin for a Senate pickup in November. President Joe Biden won the state in 2020, while former President Donald Trump carried it in 2016.

Despite the state’s competitive bent, Inside Elections rates the race a “lean Democratic” contest.

Related articles

Share this article:
Subscribe to our newsletter