The Washington Times - July 17, 2012, 11:34AM

Wisconsin dark-horse Senate candidate Eric Hovde is lagging behind his competitors in outside fundraising but has bankrolled his campaign with $4 million of his own money, according to numbers released this week.

Mr. Hovde, a Republican, has emerged in recent weeks as one of the two leading candidates in a four-way GOP primary race, along with former Gov. Tommy Thompson.

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The Republicans will compete in an Aug. 14 primary for the right to take on Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin in a general election for the seat now held by retiring Democratic Sen. Herbert Kohl.

Mr. Hovde, a businessman who has never held political office, has surged in recent polls by painting himself as more conservative than Mr. Thompson — who is widely regarded as a moderate — and spending heavily on radio and TV ads.

According to a filing with the Federal Election Commission, Mr. Hovde has raised just $350,000 in individual and committee contributions as of June 30, but has contributed $4 million from his own pocket.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday that Mr. Thompson raised $834,000 in the second quarter while Ms. Baldwin outpaced all four Republicans with $2.2 million during the quarter.

Recent polls by the Hovde campaign and Public Policy Polling have shown Mr. Hovde and Mr. Thompson to be virtually even in the GOP primary race, although a poll last week by Marquette University showed Mr. Thompson maintaining a 12-point lead.