WI Senate: Grassroots groups differ on candidates

Eric Hovde

With polls showing some fluctuation in the Republican Senate primary in Wisconsin, prominent grassroots groups are now lining up against each other as they side with different candidates. There is an eagerness to make sure that former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who supported ObamaCare, doesn’t get the nomination; however, FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth have different views on the best candidate.

The Club for Growth endorsed former Wisconsin Rep. Mark Neumann in the race late last year, noting his strong commitment to economic freedom and limited government, and launched a strong campaign against Thompson’s record, including his support of ObamaCare. And last week, the Club released this ad hitting Thompson and Eric Hovde, a Madison businessman who has seen support rise in recent weeks, on their support for higher taxes:

It’s worth noting that Sen. Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund has also endorsed Neumann as the conservative alternative to Thompson. They have, however, have functioned as a bundler in the race.

But last week, FreedomWorks, a grassroots group that has strong ties to the Tea Party movement, endorsed Hovde over Neumann, noting that his business experience and “outsider” status make him an attractive candidate.

While there is no particular group to blame, this obviously create a problem for groups wanting to ensure that Thompson, given his past support for ObamaCare, doesn’t wind up in the Senate. With both groups having picked a different horse in the race, the conservative and Tea Party votes will split, making it easier for Thompson to slip in.

There is a legitimate question about Thompson’s sincerity in voting for repeal of ObamaCare. From what we can tell at this point, either Neumann or Hovde would certainly be a vote to roll back the individual mandate and crippling regulations on business in the law (and I have no preference between the two), but dividing the conservative and Tea Party vote in the race doesn’t make much sense.

Photo via WXOW

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