"... has reshuffled the Republican race for US Senate and emerged as a legitimate threat to the best-known figure in the field, former governor Tommy Thompson, two new polls suggest."
Where's the tipping point? The received wisdom is Tommy said he wants it and therefore it's Tommy's. But look at these new polls. I think there is potential for a sudden shift toward Hovde if people overcome the presumption that the nomination belongs to Tommy.
Understand: Hovde is one of the conservative alternatives to Thompson, and serious conservatives find Thompson insufficiently conservative, but of course they want to win the Senate seat in the end. So there's some risk-taking in jumping from Tommy to one of the conservatives. There are 2 other conservatives in the race — former congressman Mark Neumann and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald — and both of them were much more well-known than Hovde, though much less well-known than Tommy Thompson. Hovde has now leveraged himself to the top of the conservative triad, which means that those who want someone from the conservative triad now know, with these 2 new polls, that they must coalesce around Hovde, or yield to the massive force that is Thompson.