Madison businessman Eric Hovde, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 2012, said he has decided against running for Senate this year.

“After wrestling with this decision for the last, oh, six months, I’ve decided not to run,” Hovde said Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Hovde cited “a number of different factors” both personal and professional, including the pregnancy of his eldest daughter, the serious illness of another family member, and the impact on his businesses.

“It really weighed on me. On one hand, I really wanted to get into the race. I so desperately wanted to debate Tammy Baldwin, because we have absolutely different philosophies,” he 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 discussion — said it’s just not the right time for us at this point in time,” Hovde said.

Hovde’s decision leaves the Republican primary field to state Sen. Leah Vukmir of Brookfield and Delafield businessman Kevin Nicholson. Both are seeking to challenge the incumbent Dem, Baldwin.

Hovde said he decided against running before Tuesday’s election for Wisconsin Supreme Court, in which Judge Rebecca Dallet, favored by liberals, defeated Judge Michael Screnock, the choice of conservatives, by a double-digit margin.

Hovde held out the possibility that he could run again for Senate at some point in the future.

Hovde also said he would hold off on endorsing at this time.

“Leah was a big supporter of mine last time. The one thing about Leah, I know she and I view most of the issues very similar,” Hovde said.

“Kevin I just don’t know that well. There are some issues that caused me a bit of concern, but, you know, I want to give him a fair hearing.”

Also on the program, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairwoman Martha Laning said “a lot of hard work” went into recent victories by two women seeking state office.

Judge Rebecca Dallet, who won a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court Tuesday, and Democratic state Sen. Patty Schachtner, who won a special election in January, are part of a trend of women seeking office across the nation.

“I think as women we really care about our communities and the future of our families, our parents. We’re caregivers, and we’re concerned about what’s happening,” Laning said.

Laning said Democratic candidates are connecting with voters around the state.

“We as Democrats did a much better job of ensuring that we were out talking to their neighbors and listening to what are the issues that are most important,” she said.

The next big races will be special elections in June for Senate District 1 in northeastern Wisconsin, and Assembly District 42 in south central Wisconsin.

Laning said Democrats have a good chance of picking up those seats.

“We know it will be not easy. We need everybody to get out and talk to the people and help us show just what phenomenal candidates, and we do have phenomenal candidates running in those positions. Rebecca Dallet won Senate District 1, but we’re not taking anything for granted,” Laning said.

In another segment, UW-Stevens Point Chancellor Bernie Patterson said a proposal to cut 13 humanities majors and add or expand 16 other majors was only a proposal, and campus groups are now looking at “alternative possibilities.”

UWSP leadership had proposed cuts in the humanities programs as a way to address financial difficulties and declining enrollment, which Patterson said has fallen 16 percent in the last seven years.

But there has been serious push back to the proposal, and the controversy has drawn national attention.

“What I hope to do is to find the really good ideas in all of the proposals that we hear,” Patterson said. “Thus far what we’ve heard is ‘don’t do this,’ or ‘don’t do that.’ But there haven’t been very many suggestions on what to do, and no action is, frankly, not a choice.”

Patterson said UWSP will not submit a plan to the Board of Regents until the fall semester.

“There’s plenty of time for dialogue and conversation. That’s why we started this as early as we did,” he said.

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