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Wisconsin: TV Ads Race Heats Up in Senate Primary

The race for Wisconsin’s open Senate seat heated up this week in the wake of Tuesday’s gubernatorial recall election.

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson and businessman Eric Hovde launched new television ads in their bids for the Republican nomination, while former Rep. Mark Neumann (R-Wis.) announced that he would campaign with tea party favorite Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

In both spots, Thompson and Hovde portray themselves as Washington outsiders who would challenge the way business is done on Capitol Hill. Thompson’s statewide media buy for his new ad is his first foray into the contest’s television ads race. In the spot, the candidate lists a number of Washington policies that he would work to stop — including tax hikes and the 2010 health care reform measures.

“Stop,” Thompson, a former Health and Human Services secretary under President George W. Bush, says at the beginning of the ad. “It’s an easy concept, but Washington politicians just don’t get it.”

The Hovde ad, his fourth since joining the race, features the candidate’s two daughters characterizing the Senate as fiscally irresponsible and out of touch. By the end of the spot, the pair decides that their father would not fit in on Capitol Hill.

“I’m Eric Hovde, I don’t care if they like me in the Senate,” Hovde says to conclude one version of the ad.

Hovde, a successful businessman, had contributed $1.5 million to his campaign as of March. He has spent much of this money to fund large-scale media buys.

Neumann will campaign with Coburn in Green Bay and Milwaukee on Monday. He has won the endorsement of many of the Republican Party’s most conservative leaders, including Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

While Thompson has maintained a lead in the polls, experts in the state say that the race remains close and unpredictable.

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