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Eric Hovde, a Republican businessman who nearly mounted a second run this year for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seat, now says he’s endorsing Republican state Sen. Leah Vukmir.

Hovde announced the endorsement Tuesday in an interview with WISN-AM in Milwaukee.

It could be a boon to Vukmir’s efforts to secure the Republican Party of Wisconsin endorsement at its state convention in Milwaukee this weekend.

Delafield businessman Kevin Nicholson is vying with Vukmir, R-Brookfield, for the GOP U.S. Senate nod. Vukmir and Nicholson are expected to face off in an Aug. 14 primary to decide who’ll face Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Madison in November.

Hovde said his endorsement isn’t a slight to Nicholson, but that “I just don’t know Kevin all that well.”

Hovde said he’s confident that Vukmir will be a staunch conservative voice on issues he cares about, such as the federal debt and federal spending levels. In a statement from the Vukmir campaign announcing his support, Hovde cited Vukmir’s “consistent and verifiable record on behalf of Wisconsin voters.”

“I have that comfort level with Leah, that she will be that person that will stand strong,” Hovde said.

The Nicholson campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Vukmir said in a statement that “Eric’s support means a lot, and I’m thrilled to add him to my growing list of Wisconsin endorsements.”

Hovde announced last month that he wouldn’t run for Senate in 2018, after months of saying he was considering a run.

A Madison banker, investor and developer, Hovde vied for the GOP U.S. Senate nod in 2012. He finished second in the Republican primary that year to former Gov. Tommy Thompson.

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Mark Sommerhauser covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.