WI Senate: Eric Hovde overtakes Tommy Thompson
In a post yesterday, I noted that, even though he had a sizable polling advantage, Tommy Thompson could soon face a problem due to his support of ObamaCare thanks to renewed focus on the law. Unfortunately, I hit “publish” before I saw the results of the latest survey out of Wisconsin from Public Policy Polling. According the results, that polling advantage isn’t just gone, Thompson now trails Eric Hovde, a businessman from Madison:
Businessman Eric Hovde (R) has surged past former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) in the state’s crowded Republican Senate primary, according to a new poll from the Democratic-aligned Public Policy Polling.
Hovde leads Thompson by 31 to 29 percent, with former Rep. Mark Neumann (R-Wis.) pulling 15 percent support and Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald at 9 percent.
Recent polling has shown Hovde gaining traction, but this is the first poll, including Hovde’s own, that shows him with a lead over the well-known former governor. Hovde’s numbers have been boosted in large part by the more than $3 million he’s spent on television advertising — Thompson hasn’t been on the air nearly that much, and Neumann’s first ad debuted Tuesday.
Thompson had long led in the polls, but has problems with his conservative bona fides: He is on record as having supported a national healthcare plan with an individual mandate, the centerpiece of Democrats’ healthcare reform law, and while he opposed the law he worked early on with former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) to craft a bipartisan framework. He also increased public employee pensions during his time as governor.
Thompson has been viewed as the GOP’s best hope for picking off the seat, which is left open to the retirement of Sen. Herb Kohl; however, the poll shows that Hovde is a viable general election candidate, leading Rep. Tammy Baldwin, 45-44.
This is interesting because former Rep. Mark Neumann has been backed by influential conservative groups, including the Club for Growth. But he has been unable to gain any enough traction in the race as Thompson has been on the downward slide. In fact, it’s Hovde who has been the beneficiary of Tea Party support.
Like I said yesterday, if Republicans want to repeal ObamaCare, they’ll has to be a solid majority in the Senate to repeal ObamaCare. Given his past statements and appreciation from President Barack Obama for supporting the law, Thompson is not the best pick.
Another poll is expected today, if it hasn’t already been released. We’ll see whether Thompson’s decline is real or not.