WISCONSIN — Wisconsin’s Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat is about a month away, and the political “air war” is going strong, as campaigns take to the TV and radio airwaves and try to attract voters.
The four-way Republican race for Wisconsin’s open Senate seat is heating up. Voters head to the polls on August 14th.
Political strategist Chris Haworth says he expects a hard-fought race for the Republican nomination.
“30 days before the election, all’s fair in love, war and political campaigning. There’s no doubt the three top candidates have now truly identified each other as targets,” Haworth said.
Former governor Tommy Thompson appeared on national television over the weekend to trumpet his record on welfare reform.
“We have to elect people to public office that believe in the individual and believe individuals make a difference and they can make it on their own. The government does not have to do everything for them,” Thompson said.
Thompson’s latest ad shows him decked out in Harley gear, riding on the open road.
Former congressman Mark Neumann is focusing on the same issue as Thompson — repealing “Obamacare.”
“I think the conservative base is going to come home. They’ve got a proven conservative in the race and I think they’re going to come home to us as this race goes on,” Neumann said.
The candidate generating the most buzz is businessman and political newcomer Eric Hovde, who led in a recently-released Public Policy Poll and came in second to Thompson in a Marquette Law School poll.
He completed a tour around the state with a rally in Milwaukee.
“You can tell you’re leading the pack when all of a sudden everybody starts attacking you,” Hovde said.
The attacks have begun in earnest. The conservative Club for Growth, which supports Neumann, went on air Friday, July 13th criticizing the records of both Thompson and Hovde on taxes.
Then, the Hovde campaign responded to the Club for Growth with an ad attacking Neumann.
“‘Negative Neumann’ is making false attacks against conservative businessman Eric Hovde,” the ad says.
In the meantime, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, who has said he will run a positive campaign, hit the radio airwaves, focusing on his role as the Legislative leader who was instrumental in passing Gov. Scott Walker’s budget reforms.
“The other guys might try to throw barbs at each other and I’ll be running on my record. If you see the other campaigns go negative — I think that’s going to benefit me in the long run. I’m running on a positive message of I’m someone who turned the state around — let’s go and turn the country around,” Fitzgerald said.
“It’s going to be a slugfest to say who’s the more conservative?” Haworth said.
The winner of the Republican race will take on Democratic candidate Tammy Baldwin in the November general election.