Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Eric Hovde: Is Another Political Outsider Headed to the US Senate from Wisconsin?

Bookmark and Share

Hovde, surging in the GOP primary polls, would be just the third political novice elected to the U.S. Senate from the Badger State

erichovde10.jpgWhen former four-term Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson entered the race for the state's open U.S. Senate seat to replace retiring Democrat Herb Kohl, it was expected he would lock down establishment support.

The lingering question was whether the anti-establishment, or Tea Party faction of the GOP, would coalesce behind an alternative to Thompson to prevent him from becoming the nominee.

Former two-term Congressman Mark Neumann was an early frontrunner for the anti-Thompson vote.

But a new Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday now finds businessman Eric Hovde not only putting distance between himself and Neumann, but also eclipsing Thompson (within the poll's margin of error).

With five weeks before the primary, PPP reports Hovde leads Thompson by a 31 to 29 percent margin with Neumann a distant third at 15 percent and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald trailing with just 9 percent.

If Hovde pulls off the primary upset and then defeats Democratic nominee Tammy Baldwin in the general election, he would join freshman GOPer Ron Johnson as the first ever pair of U.S. Senators from Wisconsin without any previous ties to political office.

Ron Johnson was a plastics manufacturing company owner and founder prior to his underdog victory over three-term Democrat Russ Feingold in 2010.

Prior to Johnson's win, only three previous U.S. Senators from the Badger State came to that office without any prior service in the executive, legislative, or judicial branches of government at any level.

Two of these three individuals, however, had very strong political ties.

Robert La Follette, Jr. became senator in 1925 after the death of his father - the most famous politician in Wisconsin history.

While "young Bob" had never held political office, he served as his father's private secretary for Robert Sr.'s last six years in the senate.

Herb Kohl had also never held governmental office prior to being elected in 1988 to replace retiring Democrat William Proxmire.

However, Kohl had been a key figure in Wisconsin politics, serving as the Badger State Democratic Party Chairman from 1975 to 1977.

The only other senator who came to the office without any prior non-military governmental service was Francis Ryan Duffy, who was elected during the Democratic landslide of 1932 and served one term.

After attaining the rank of major in World War I, Duffy then practiced law prior to his election to the nation's upper legislative chamber more than a decade later.

As for the remaining 23 Wisconsin U.S. Senators in state history, all had some governmental experience prior to their election to the Senate:

· One served in the presidential cabinet (William Vilas).

· Seven served in the U.S. House (Charles Durkee, Isaac Stephenson, Philetus Sawyer, John Mitchell, Irvine Lenroot, Robert Kasten).

· One was a U.S. territorial delegate (Henry Dodge).

· Three were elected governor (Robert La Follette, John Blaine, Gaylord Nelson) and one was appointed territorial governor (Dodge).

· One was elected attorney general (Blaine) and one served as assistant attorney general (John Spooner).

· One served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court (Timothy Howe).

· Three were elected Wisconsin circuit court judge (Howe, James Doolittle, Joe McCarthy).

· Eight were elected to the state senate (Angus Cameron, Mitchell, Joseph Quarles, Paul Husting, Blaine, Nelson, Kasten, Russ Feingold)

· Seven were elected to the state assembly (Vilas, Spooner, Stephenson, Cameron, Sawyer, Quarles, Irvine Lenroot, William Proxmire).

· Two served in the territorial legislature (Isaak Walker, Charles Durkee).

· One served on a county board of supervisors (Blaine).

· Three were elected mayor (Sawyer, Quarles, Blaine).

· Six served as district attorney (Doolittle, Matthew Carpenter, Quarles, La Follette, Husting, Alexander Wiley).

The Republican primary will be held on August 14th.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: House and Senate GOP Rooting for NL Victory in Tuesday's All-Star Game
Next post: Splitting the Electorate

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

Political Crumbs

No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


The Second Time Around

Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez became the seventh major party or second place gubernatorial candidate in Colorado to get a second chance at the office when he narrowly won his party's nomination last month. Two of the previous six candidates were successful. Democrat Alva Adams lost his first gubernatorial bid to Benjamin Eaton in 1884, but was victorious two years later against William Meyer. Democrat Charles Johnson placed third in 1894 behind Republican Albert McIntyre and Populist incumbent Governor David Waite but returned as the Fusion (Democrat/Populist) nominee in 1898 and defeated GOPer Henry Wolcott. Gubernatorial candidates who received a second chance but lost both general elections include Democrat Thomas Patterson (1888, 1914), Progressive Edward Costigan (1912, 1914), Republican Donald Brotzman (1954, 1956), and Republican David Strickland (1978, 1986).


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting