Madison businessman Eric Hovde announced in an interview that aired Sunday that he is not running for U.S. Senate.

“After wrestling with this decision for six months, I’ve decided not to run,” Hovde told Mike Gousha on the news program Up Front.

Hovde said the time wasn’t right with events that were happening with his family and his business.

“On the one hand, I wanted to get into the race. I so desperately wanted to debate Tammy Baldwin because we have absolutely different philosophies,” Hovde said. “But when I looked at it for my life right now, and my wife, we just finally after a lot of prayer and a lot of discussions that it’s just not the right time for us at this point in time.”

Hovde finished second in the 2012 GOP primary for U.S. Senate behind former Governor Tommy Thompson and ahead of former Congressman Mark Neumann. Hovde’s decision not to run leaves Delafield businessman Kevin Nicholson, a former president of the College Democrats of America, and state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield).

The decision not to run for Senate was made before the Wisconsin Supreme Court election when Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Dallet (D-Milwaukee), the liberal candidate, defeated Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock, the conservative candidate, according to Hovde.

“The decision was made before that. As I said, it was almost a week and a half before and then we finalized the decision on Sunday, so I didn’t know the results,” Hovde told Gousha. “But I clearly paid attention. You’re always looking at the political climate and, yeah, this could be a tough political climate.”

Hovde also said the passage of the recent spending bill influenced his decision, saying he opposed it because it increased the national debt. “Am I going to spend the next six years of my life on the Senate floor making that argument where nobody listens?” Hovde asked. “Maybe I wait and run at some point in the future when the country’s dealing with these problems and has to address them.”

Hovde declined to endorse either Vukmir or Nicholson yet. “Leah was a big supporter of mine last time,” Hovde said. “The one thing I know about Leah she and I view most of the issues very similar.”

“Kevin, I just don’t know that well,” Hovde said. “There are some issues that cause me a bit of concern but, you know, I want to give him a fair hearing. I want to analyze both their campaigns, so I’m not going to endorse today.”

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