Tuesday’s Democratic upset in a northwest Wisconsin legislative election has created an unexpected late hiccup in Republican Eric Hovde’s deliberations about whether to run for U.S. Senate.

Hovde, a Madison businessman who sought a Wisconsin U.S. Senate seat in 2012, has been readying for a possible entry into this year’s race.

Then came Tuesday’s special election in state Senate District 10, where Democrat Patty Schachtner upset Republican Adam Jarchow in a district Donald Trump carried by 17 points in 2016.

The outcome was hailed by many Democrats — and some Republicans — as a sign the state’s political winds may be shifting. Prominent GOP strategist Brian Fraley called it “the most significant political development in Wisconsin since Walker won the recalls.”

In an interview, Hovde acknowledged the Senate District 10 result “factors in” to his own decision-making process.

“It’s relevant, without question,” Hovde said.

If more signs emerge that 2018 could be an election cycle that favors Democrats, Hovde said that could further influence his thinking.

Hovde said the special election also raises questions about how GOP President Donald Trump is affecting the national political climate heading into 2018. The stock market is booming and Islamic State terrorists are losing ground in the Middle East, Hovde said, adding Trump deserves credit for both.

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But Hovde said he’s not sure that translates into a favorable environment for Republicans in 2018.

“Because (Trump’s) personality is such that a lot of people do not care for his style and his personality traits, it’s swinging the pendulum the other way,” Hovde said.

Hovde said in December that he’s “taking certain steps” to enter the race in early 2018, should he choose to do so.

Delafield businessman Kevin Nicholson and state Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield, already are vying for the GOP nod to face Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, of Madison, this November.

Nicholson has officially been in the race since July, and Vukmir since September.

Hovde’s personal wealth is a factor: He spent more than $5 million of his own money when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2012 and likely could self-fund again. So Hovde says he won’t rush a decision about run- ning.

“I don’t feel compelled it has to happen in the next 30 days,” Hovde said.

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

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