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HomeBreakingEric Hovde Bio: Senate Candidate Has Deep Roots in Wisconsin, 'Is 3rd...

Eric Hovde Bio: Senate Candidate Has Deep Roots in Wisconsin, ‘Is 3rd Generation Wisconsinite’


“I am a third-generation Wisconsinite,” businessman Eric Hovde, who is running for U.S. Senate, says.

The grainy photo shows a young Eric Hovde standing with his father in front of the family’s Maple Bluff, Wisconsin, home.

The photo illustrates the U.S. Senate candidate’s deep Wisconsin roots, which go back three generations, to the 1800s. Hovde, a conservative, announced his candidacy on Feb. 20 under the slogan, “Restore the American dream.”

Eric hovde bio

Hovde’s opponents – and Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin – have tried to smear Hovde as a “California banker.” To help educate Wisconsin voters on their choices, Wisconsin Right Now took a deep dive into Hovde’s background to sort out fact from fiction. What we found is an entrepreneur with long-standing Wisconsin ties – a Wisconsin boy who left the state after college to try his hand at business but returned because he wanted his daughter to learn Wisconsin values and go to high school here. She did.

In addition to being raised in Wisconsin, Hovde has been a Wisconsin resident again for more than 12 years. He and his wife own a home in the Madison area. That’s where he lives, Hovde says. For her part, Tammy Baldwin bought a swanky $1.3 million rooftop condo with her partner in Washington D.C. She’s taken a host of controversial issues on Gaza, the border, and transgender surgeries of minors.

Eric hovde
Eric hovde with his dad and family in front of his childhood wisconsin home

For starters, Hovde was born and raised here. He left for a time, like many Wisconsinites do, to see the world and expand his businesses. But he returned because he wanted his daughter to go to high school here and learn Wisconsin values.

He is a graduate of Madison East High School. He is a graduate of UW-Madison, where he studied international relations and economics. He’s been a Wisconsin Badgers season ticket holder since 1992, he says.

In fact, the Hovde family goes three generations back in Wisconsin. His father was born here. His grandmother on his father’s side was born here, Hovde tells WRN. His father’s father immigrated to Wisconsin as a child from Norway. He is “100% Norwegian on all sides.” His grandma on his mom’s side came from Minnesota to Wisconsin, and his family roots date to the 1880s in the state.

Eric hovde
Eric hovde hunting with his grandpa in wisconsin.

The Hovde family settled in the Madison and Stoughton area, and Hovde’s grandpa Ingvald “Inky” Hovde started a business in Wisconsin after moving here in 1905. It still exists as rebranded Hovde Properties, and it’s run by Hovde and his brother in Madison. “I have a full development company in Wisconsin,” Hovde said.

“My grandfather started Hovde Realty in the heart of the Great Depression,” Hovde tells WRN. “Dad took it over, turned it over into commercial real estate. He went into President Reagan’s administration and was number two at HUD.” His father, Donald Hovde, was also president of the National Association of Realtors.

Eric hovde family
Eric hovde with his parents and family

“It’s real simple,” Hovde said. “Where do I pay my taxes? The State of Wisconsin. Home is in Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin.”

He said he and his wife purchased the home in California so when he was there for business he did not have to live “out of a hotel or apartment,” he told WRN. Hovde and his wife were able to purchase a vacation home in California, where they have a business, Hovde says. But he says he’s never paid a dime in California taxes, and he says he only spent three months there last year.

Hovde says his daughter graduated from “high school here in 2017.”

Ingvald hovde
Ingvald hovde, eric hovde’s grandpa.

Of the California home, he said, “The total amount of time last year that I spent there was about 80 days.

“It’s all nonsense,” he said of the carpetbagger claims.

He lived for a time in Washington D.C., where he started a banking firm and “bought troubled banks, turning them around.” In the early 1990s, he began buying properties in Wisconsin.

Eric hovde
Eric hovde

He said he wanted a “Midwestern upbringing for my daughter” and noted that “probably half the people in the state weren’t even born in the state,” but he was. He said he has only had a second home for 5.5 years.

Hovde doesn’t shy away from admitting that he has achieved financial success through his entrepreneurship.

“We have a bunch of people running our economy that don’t know anything about the economy,” he said. “I understand the issues that drive out economy. I can’t wait to debate Tammy Baldwin but she probably won’t. She won’t even understand half the things I am talking about.”

Hovde described himself as a “diehard Packer fan,” a pheasant hunter, an “outdoors person,” a Milwaukee Bucks fan, and a big water skier.

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