Eric Hovde, Tea Party-Backed Senate Candidate, Took Federal Tobacco Farm Subsidies

After reports came out showing that his real-estate firm benefitted from tobacco subsidies, Wisconsin Senate candidate Eric Hovde said his firm would drop the payments, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The Republican, who was recently endorsed by the Tea Party-affiliated FreedomWorks, has campaigned heavily against federal farm subsidies ahead of the August 14 Senate primary in Wisconsin.

Hovde's firm took in $8,000 worth of tobacco subsidies, the Associated Press reported. The realty firm received the money through the Tobacco Transition Payment Program, a program established in 2004 to mollify the effects of the government abandoning its longtime quota and price support system regulating the tobacco industry. Hovde, whose family has been involved in real estate for three generations and leases farmland, said that he didn't even know his firm had applied for the subsidies until he was contacted by the press.

Hovde's campaign website rails against farm subsidies, saying "we ... need to ... fight against subsidies that benefit only million-dollar mega farms at the expense of family farms." As the AP report also notes, Hovde has attacked one of his GOP primary challengers, Mark Neumann, for allowing his solar energy businesses to take in $500,000 in federal stimulus money.

Hovde is facing off against Neumann, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson and State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald in the August 14 primary.

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