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ICYMI: Wisconsin GOP Senate Candidate Eric Hovde Waged Decadeslong Campaign to Kill a Beloved Dive Bar

Yesterday, a new report from Rolling Stone revealed that California banker Eric Hovde spent the months leading up to his Senate campaign attacking a Wisconsin institution, forcing a small business to close its doors. This cartoon villain behavior is a major problem for Mitch McConnell’s C-list recruit considering that, aside from his crusade against this family-owned bar, Hovde has minimal ties to the state. As a reminder, Hovde dumped his home in Washington D.C. on his brother after everyone learned Hovde lives in a $7 million home in Laguna Beach, California.

To read more about Hovde’s anti-small business crusade, check out key excerpts below or read the full article HERE:

Rolling Stone: GOP Senate Candidate Waged Decadeslong Campaign to Kill a Beloved Dive Bar

  • The oldest family-owned bar in Madison, the Silver Dollar Tavern grew into a beloved institution, the site of seemingly countless memories like Napravnik’s that came pouring out as patrons memorialized the Madison landmark. As one longtime bartender told a local radio station earlier this month on the occasion of the bar’s last night in business, “everyone from the gutter to the governor’s office” could be comfortable at the Silver Dollar. Over nine decades, it played host to meet-cutes, to multiple “celebrations of life,” and one former resident recalled fondly that he and his brother were “practically raised there.”
  • In 2000, Hovde Properties sought permission to tear down the buildings around Silver Dollar Tavern and build a parking lot. Local officials rejected the plan, which at the time was viewed as an attempt to force the Silver Dollar’s owners to cave. (“I think they want to get everything else knocked down, so it leaves us hanging,” Jim Teasdale said at the time.) 
  • In the years that followed, Hovde Properties kept the buildings vacant…The empty buildings blighted the block, ultimately earning a complaint from city inspectors that they weren’t being properly maintained. As the State Journal reported in 2019: “The strip of buildings, acquired by Hovde more than 20 years ago and long held vacant for redevelopment, have made the area uninviting as a pedestrian thoroughfare, especially at night. The buildings are … plagued by negative and criminal behavior.”
  • After 25 years of trying, Hovde’s real estate company finally announced plans to demolish the Silver Dollar the same month.
  • Napravnik himself admits to mixed feelings about the closure of the Silver Dollar. “I’m somebody who generally is pretty pro-development and anti-nostalgia,” he says, but he thinks that Hovde Properties handled the situation badly. “This is somebody who left properties derelict for [more than] 24 years, just waiting for the right payout.” To him, it feels like a person who cared very little about the experience of the people who actually lived in the city of Madison. “It just feels a little gross, and highlights a bit of his out-of-touchness.” 


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