Wisconsin GOP Senate candidate sees post-Cruz fundraising ‘spike’

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Mark Neumann’s campaign for the U.S. Senate in Wisconsin has seen an uptick in fundraising in the hours since Texan Ted Cruz secured the Republican nomination in his Senate race Tuesday, the Neumann campaign told The Daily Caller.

“Our fundraising today has spiked considerably as conservatives focus and united behind Mark Neumann,” emailed Chip Englander, Neumann’s Campaign Manager. Asked if Cruz’s victory had had any effect on the race, he replied: “Absolutely.”

In a fundraising email, the Neumann campaign claimed the Cruz mantle, calling Wisconsin “the next key tea party battle” and painting the race as a similarly styled establishment-versus-tea-party race between “the Conservative’s choice Mark Neumann, establishment-preferred candidate Tommy Thompson, and Washington, DC hedge fund manager Eric Hovde.”

Neumann and Cruz have received some of the same endorsements, including those from the Club for Growth and from Senators Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee.

The Club for Growth also seized on the parallel Tuesday, releasing a new ad that goes after Thompson and Hovde and paints Wisconsin as the new battleground after tea partiers’ Texas victory.

It’s hard to say with any certainty that the fundraising surge has anything to do with Cruz’s victory. Neumann’s Tuesday boost also coincided with a Public Policy Polling poll that showed Neumann gaining significant ground to tie with Thompson.

The poll found Hovde leading with 28 percent, but Neumann and former Gov. Thompson were close behind at 25 percent each. Two weeks ago, Neumann was at 13 percent, with Hovde and Thompson at 31 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

Cruz’s victory, Hovde press secretary Sean Lansing emailed, “certainly isn’t good news for Tommy Thompson. Career politicians and establishment candidates across the country have had trouble with political outsiders — which I think definitely benefits Eric.”

Thompson spokesman Brian Nemoir emailed to say a Cruz victory benefits Thompson, though he did not explain the correlation, saying simply: “With the economy being the top issue for voters, candidates like Tommy Thompson who have an irrefutable record of tax cuts, property tax relief and job growth resonate among the electorate.”

But Joseph Heim, political science professor at the University of Wisconsin, Lacrosse, was skeptical that the Cruz win would have any affect on the Wisconsin race, no matter how much the campaigns tried to force the narrative.

“I don’t think Wisconsin is Texas, and Wisconsin Republicans are not Texas Republicans, so I’m less of a believer that this is going to have an enormous impact on Wisconsin,” he told The Daily Caller. Texas, he said, was a clear contrast of “establishment versus outsider,” but the Wisconsin race had four candidates and more moving parts.

“This isn’t that simple here,” he said.

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