April 27, 2012

Is Eric Hovde the new Ron Johnson?

Larry Kaufman on the GOP Senate primary in Wisconsin.

But Ron Johnson did not have to fight off Tommy Thompson, the former governor who chose not to go for a Senate seat when it required ousting an incumbent. It's an easier seat to get in the general election because the incumbent is retiring, but that makes the primary more contentious.

Is Thompson up for that fight? Or is he just assuming we know him and like him? So far...
... Thompson is a no-show for debates and often "phones in" speeches at the events he does attend. There's a growing sense that Thompson is acting like he's entitled to the job...
When is the Senate primary anyway? It's August 14, after the recall elections, which are June 5th. Kaufman tries to predict the post-recall political climate:
If Gov. Scott Walker loses, dispirited GOP voters will be far more likely to hunker down and cast a "safe" vote for Thompson to take on Democratic challenger Tammy Baldwin. 
Really? Wow. GOP folk go completely beta? Gotta win something.
But in the more likely case where Walker wins, the surge in Republican confidence would favor candidates like Hovde running on a stronger and more forthright fiscal conservatism. Wisconsin's open primary could also favor Hovde, since he's a fresh face with more crossover appeal than his opponents.
Why wouldn't they cross over and vote for whoever is the weakest candidate to face Baldwin? These open primaries are a bitch.

IN THE COMMENTS: Original Mike said:
Thompson clearly doesn't have it in him anymore. He should step aside. 
If the GOP had a brain, all the other candidates would step down and endorse Hovde. Don't you think? There's only one declared candidate on the Democratic side, the primary isn't until August, and it's an open primary.


TosaGuy said...

I said last year that I knew that Tommy Thompson would not be up for working hard on the campaign trail.

Tammy Baldwin is going to be a much stronger and smarter candidate than any of the goofballs TT faced while he was governor.

Original Mike said...

Thompson clearly doesn't have it in him anymore. He should step aside.

Original Mike said...

"Why wouldn't they cross over and vote for whoever is the weakest candidate to face Baldwin?"

And that would be Hovde? They may get more than they bargined for.

MadisonMan said...

Thompson v. Baldwin would be very retro. It'd be like being back in the late 90s. What could go wrong?

Voting for Baldwin would not be easy for me. What has she accomplished in her stay in Congress? A couple pork projects for Madison (Whee!!). Voting for Thompson would be harder though.

Please, can't we get some interesting / good candidates?

dreams said...

This is not shaping up as a good year for old establishment Republicans as Utah, Indiana would seem to indicate. Thanks to the Tea Party which has been a very positive force for our country.

Original Mike said...

Based on nothing, I think Hovde defeats Thompson.

Peter said...

Although I don't think Hovde's going anywhere, there's a lot to be said for a politician who's willing to be pro-free-market without being pro-business.

Original Mike said...

"If the GOP had a brain, all the other candidates would step down and endorse Hovde. Don't you think?"

Unfortunately, the GOP doesn't have a brain because it's not an individual. But Thompson has one. If he were to step aside and endorse Hovde, that might do the trick.

Still, if crossover Democrats vote for Hovde thinking they are voting for the weakest opponent, I think they'd be making a mistake. I've had second thoughts about my intention to vote for Falk because if, God forbid, she were to become Governor, I'd never forgive myself.

BarrySanders20 said...

Thompson is barely better than Arlen Specter and that era's big government senators of both parties. Repulsive and sclerotic. I will never vote for Baldwin, but would have to choke down a vote for Thompson in the general.

who-knew said...

I'm the prototypical Republican voter, and mid 50's married white guy living in the Fox River Valley and I can't stand the idea of Tommy Thompson running for the senate. I will be voting for Hovde in the primary and anybody but Baldwin in the general. I just hope I'm not stuck with Tommy as the alternative.

Barry said...

Wow. Neumann and Fitzgerald are really that bad that Hovde (a wealthy unknown from outside the state) is getting more support? I thought the recall would be galvanizing to the state GOP, but maybe it's as dysfunctional as ever.

Chuck66 said...

My first reaction is to support Thompson as he would do no (or little). Harm. Kind of a place holder to prevent a Madison leftest from getting in.

But the country has challenges that come close to equaling what we had in the 1930s. I see what Paul Ryan and Senator Johnson are doing. They get it. They know we can't just put up some token resistance to continued spending growth. That would have been fine 20 years ago. Even 15 years ago.

But now things are much worse. We have $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities. We have a gov't takeover of healthcare.

We need someone who knows what is going on and will pro-activily work to fix this issues.

Alex said...

You see Democrats tend to me more in lock-step on everything. Republicans tend to be more individualistic.

ndspinelli said...

I'm sick of this guys ads already. Is he related to Glenn Hovde, the big real estate guy in Madison?

Original Mike said...

"I'm sick of this guys ads already."

Yeah, 'cause we don't need to hear about the fiscal death spiral this country is in.

Michael Haz said...

Where's Tommy? Smartly keeping is money in the bank until after the recall election.

Hovde is interesting. He's a young guy, smart, attractive, fit, a willing campaigner. Can he beat Tommy? That's a tall order.

Hovde's ads have been smart. He's not wasting energy going negative on the other candidates - he's establishing himself as a conservative and a businessman who knows about the budget and wants to help get it fixed.

Will it be enough to get him elected? That's a hard call right now. But a quick look at the Republican office holders - Walker, Johnson, Ryan and Sensenbrenner - suggest that Hovde is on the right track to attract a majority of Wisconsin voters.

Meade said...

"Why wouldn't they cross over and vote for whoever is the weakest candidate to face Baldwin? These open primaries are a bitch."

They are. And it's hard to predict just how Dem/liberals would cross over and exactly who they might perceive as being "weak".

In the Wisconsin Republican presidential primary a few weeks ago it seems they mostly crossed over for Santorum, the social conservative. Hovde strikes me as being more fiscal than social. But maybe, to Dem/Progs, it's all the same thing.

Tammy Baldwin was highly visible in last year's protests against Walker. Win or lose the Walker recall, any vote against Tammy Baldwin in November will feel like an additional bite at that apple - the highly polished apple of public union advantages and privileges - privileges that, for decades, were at the expense of the rest of Wisconsin taxpayers.

walter said...

T.B. is the quintessential bipolar candidate. Can go from hug to club as necessary.
Don't know how Hovde will fare, but he starts out of the gate addressing the real concerns.