Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, businessman Eric Hovde and former Rep. Mark Neumann are locked in a tight, three-way race for the GOP nomination in Wisconsin, and no one in the Badger State seems to have a handle on which Republican is favored to win Tuesday's primary. But if the money being spent in the last week of the race is any indication, Neumann has the late momentum.
Over the final week of the primary campaign, Neumann has the most money being spent on his behalf and the least amount being spent against him, according a GOP source tracking ad buys in the state. From August 7 through August 13, $580,000 is being spent on television ads supporting Neumann's candidacy (either by his own campaign or outside groups backing him), while $285,000 is being spent on ads attacking the former congressman.
Hovde, the political neophyte who rocketed up the polls by spending millions of his personal fortune on television ads early in the campaign, faces the greatest spending disadvantage over the last week. In that time period, $200,000 worth of pro-Hovde television ads are running statewide, compared to a whopping $594,000 worth of anti-Hovde ads.
The ad buy numbers don't look much better for Thompson. Over the last week of the primary, $230,000 is being spent on spots supporting the former governor, while $335,000 is being spent opposing his candidacy.
Strategists on all sides say the race is too close to call. But if you're following the money, Neumann appears to have a late edge.