MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - The four Republican U.S. Senate candidates took turns outlining their stands and backgrounds at a forum in Milwaukee Wednesday.
Afterward, the two leading hopefuls slammed each other’s credentials.
Banker and hedge fund manager Eric Hovde said the biggest difference between him and front-runner Tommy Thompson is Hovde’s expertise in the financial markets. Hovde said he could talk about issues that the former governor Thompson would, “have a hard time understanding.”
Thompson responded by saying he balanced state budgets for 14 years as governor – and he has never taken a dime of federal stimulus or banking bailout money. And Thompson said Hovde should be, “more concerned about the money he took than worrying about me.”
Hovde has said he never received money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program – but some of the companies in which he invested did receive TARP funds.
Thompson leads Hovde in two major polls.
The former governor told the Milwaukee forum that he’s the best-known candidate among Wisconsin voters, and he has the best chance to defeat Democrat Tammy Baldwin in November. Thompson said he represents, “a sign of trust.”
The other GOP hopefuls, Mark Neumann and Jeff Fitzgerald, said they’ve had plenty of experience in addressing government deficits – and they’d do the same in the U.S. Senate if they’re elected.
Thursday’s forum was sponsored by the Citizens for Responsible Government.