GOP US Senate candidate Eric Hovde says nursing home residents are in no shape to vote - TAI News
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Eric Hovde, a Republican businessman and real estate mogul, speaks on Feb. 20, 2024, in Madison, Wisconsin. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

In a recent interview with a conservative radio show, Republican Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde suggested that people living in nursing homes shouldn’t vote, the latest controversial comment to surface since the millionaire launched his campaign in February.

While discussing the 2020 presidential election with Fox News’ Guy Benson on April 5, Hovde, who is running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, said he doesn’t believe the election was stolen but found some things about it troublesome.

“We had nursing homes where the sheriff of Racine investigated, where you had 100% voting in nursing homes,” Hovde said. “Well, if you’re in a nursing home, you only have five, six months’ life expectancy. Almost nobody in a nursing home is in a point to vote. And you had children, adult children showing up that said, Who voted for my 85- or 90-year-old father or mother?”

The Wisconsin Independent reached out to Hovde’s campaign for a statement, but did not receive a response. His campaign told other news outlets: “In no manner did Eric Hovde suggest that elderly people should not vote. He was referring to specific cases in Racine where family members raised concerns about their loved ones voting.”

Typically in Wisconsin, clerks are required by law to send poll workers to assist nursing home residents with filling out their ballots, but in 2020, the Wisconsin Elections Commission told clerks to instead send absentee ballots because nursing homes were on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This shift turned nursing homes into a lightning rod for election misinformation, and Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling accused the WEC of breaking the law and alleged it had allowed some votes to be cast illegally from some of the county’s nursing homes. No one was charged due to a lack of evidence.

Hovde, who is originally from Madison but owns both a bank and a $7 million home in California, ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2012. In recent weeks he has faced a backlash over past comments he made about specific groups of people, such as farmers and single mothers, that have resurfaced from his previous campaign and the years since.

“Every day, Eric Hovde shows how disconnected he is from hard-working Wisconsinites. From saying obese people should pay more for healthcare, claiming farmers don’t work hard anymore, and now calling for people living in nursing homes to not be allowed to vote, Eric Hovde can’t represent Wisconsin values,” Arik Wolk, the rapid response director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said in an email.

Hovde said farmers are not working as hard as they used to in a July 31, 2012, interview with WisconsinEye.

“We don’t engage in hard labor like we did. We don’t have as many accidents on the job, most of us. Now we’re involved in some type of white collar profession or even professions that are involved in manual labor, it’s much safer, much more protective,” he said. “Think of farming, look at the old physical toll that it would take on the body. Now you’re largely driving around a tractor.”

In the same interview, Hovde suggested that people who are overweight should have to pay more for health care.

“Obesity is off the charts. We’re removing people from being responsible for their own health. If they all started to realize that they’re going to pay more for their health care by consuming massive amounts of soda every day or fatty foods and not exercising, maybe they would change their behavior patterns,” he said. “Fine, you want to do that, you become obese, your health care is going to cost more.”

During his 2012 campaign Hovde also blamed social and moral problems in the country on single mothers, according to The 19th. In 2017, he claimed that government assistance programs were to blame for single Black women having children out of wedlock, in turn causing more and more problems in urban communities, the outlet reported.

“One of the most troubling statistics that I can quote is a social statistic: And that is, 4 out of 10 children born in America, they are born out of wedlock. That is a direct path to a life of poverty,” he said at the time.

Hovde has also criticized young people on multiple occasions. At forums held in Newport Beach, California, in 2021 and 2023, he accused young people of being less hardworking and resilient than older generations, blaming it on the country’s opioid epidemic and social media, according to the Daily Cardinal. In 2017, he called college student protesters “so stupid.”

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