BELLEVUE (WKOW) -- The first debate featuring all four Republican U.S. Senate candidates seemed to be a mandate on political newcomer Eric Hovde.
Before anyone could even ask a question of the candidates, the multi-millionaire hedge fund manager took aim at former Governor Tommy Thompson and former Congressman Mark Neumann.
Right after the candidates opening statements, Hovde offered a rebuttal, not to the statements, but to his treatment by the others during the campaign.
"You know, Mark, I find it interesting your tone here, because in reality, what you've done through the whole campaign is attacked me and say that I'm not conservative," Hovde said to Neumann.
Hovde then went after Thompson.
"Tommy has an attack ad using a newsletter written by an employee at a company I had resigned from a year earlier," said Hovde.
But, both Neumann and Thompson painted Hovde as the bad guy, and stayed away from criticizing each other.
"The folks in Wisconsin are brighter than what Eric Hovde is trying to lead us to believe here. And once again, we're seeing past your actual commercials and into who you actually are," Neumann told a chuckling Hovde.
Meanwhile, Thompson said he didn't run any negative campaign ads, until Hovde ran one against him.
"It was Eric Hovde against me and I had to respond, because I had a very good record," said Thompson. "I'm positive, I always have run positive campaigns and I still will."
State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald avoided the controversy altogether, instead focusing on Democrat Tammy Baldwin.
"This is a lady who is left of Nancy Pelosi, so, I think we should be discussing the issues," said Fitzgerald.
The candidates all seemed eager to discuss how they would reduce the country's $16 trillion deficit, but some showed that foreign policy, particularly the subject of Iran, wasn't their strongest topic.
"If they get a nuclear bomb, they will shut down the Gulf of Hormuz, and the Gulf of Hormuz is where all the oil comes from. It will strangle the world," said Thompson, incorrectly identifying the Strait of Hormuz.
Hovde then attempted to go into historical detail about the origins of Islam.
"So much of the tensions that exist in the Middle East right now stem from the fact when Mohammed died back in 629, I think, there is a splittering of the religion between the Sunni and the Shia," said Hovde, incorrectly identifying the year of the prophet's death, which was 632.
But of more pressing concern for all four Republican candidates could be the latest poll from Rasmussen Reports, which shows Democrat Tammy Baldwin currently leading all of them in head-to-head match ups.
BELLEVUE (WKOW) -- Republican candidates for U.S. Senate agree that balancing the federal budget must be a priority for the next Congress.
The candidates met Monday in a debate that comes just two weeks before the August 14 primary vote.
State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald says he has shown through his work in the state Legislature that he has the political courage needed to take on tough budget issues.
Fitzgerald helped pass Gov. Scott Walker's controversial plan curbing collective bargaining rights for public workers.
Former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann says he has the experience during his four years in Congress balancing a budget through cutting spending.
Hedge fund manager Eric Hovde says the country faces an economic disaster that must be addressed immediately.
Former Gov. Tommy Thompson says strong leaders are needed.
Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will have a complete breakdown of Monday's debate on 27 News at 5 and 6.
MADISON (WKOW) -- All four republican candidates running for U.S. Senate will participate in a debate Monday morning.
A Green Bay radio station, WTAQ, will host the primary debate.
The debate goes from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Monday.
Former Gov. Tommy Thompson, hedge fund manager Eric Hovde, former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann and state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald will take part in this debate. Green Bay conservative talk radio personality Jerry Bader will moderate with questions coming from three broadcast journalists.
Monday's debate is the first of two scheduled debates featuring all four of the candidates leading up to the August 14 primary. They also plan to debate on August 10.
Wisconsin's Senate seat is open due to the retirement of Democrat Herb Kohl.
The winner of the primary election will face Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin in the November 6 general election.
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