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Madeline Heim
By Madeline Heim February 22, 2024

Claim that GOP candidate Eric Hovde ‘owns three homes in Central America’ is Mostly False

If Your Time is short

  • Although Heartland Signal’s post on X suggested that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde owns private residences in Central America, that’s not what the new U.S. Senate candidate was referring to when he spoke during his campaign announcement about the dangers children face when they are trafficked. 

  • He was talking about Hovde Homes, a project from his company’s charitable foundation that builds shelters for vulnerable children across the world, including those who have been trafficked. 

  • There’s not much information available online about these shelters besides their locations — Guatemala and Honduras among them. 

  • Heartland Signal, too, seemed to recognize the mischaracterization. In a follow-up X post, they clarified he appeared to be talking about Hovde Homes.

Republican businessman Eric Hovde jumped in the race for one of Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seats Tuesday, setting up a contest with U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, and prompting a wash of criticism of his background and motivations.

One such criticism — from Heartland Signal, a digital newsroom anchored to a progressive Chicago radio station – lacked some key context. 

Heartland Signal shared a snippet of Hovde’s announcement event on X, in which the candidate spoke about the horrors of human trafficking.

"My brother and I have homes all over the world, and we have three in Central America, that deal with issues like this," Hovde said.

In the post, Heartland Signal wrote that "Eric Hovde says he understands the tragedy of children being trafficked through Central America because he owns three homes there." 

That paints a bit of a misleading picture, especially given that Democrats and allies have portrayed Hovde as a carpetbagger, citing his owning residences in California and Washington, D.C.  

Let’s dive in. 

Hovde is referring to charitable shelters, not private homes 

Other X users, including Milwaukee Journal Sentinel state politics reporter Jessie Opoien, were quick to point out what Heartland Signal left out. The homes Hovde referenced are shelters financed by his company’s charitable giving foundation, not residences as the post suggests. 

According to the foundation’s website, Hovde "has financed and oversees the construction and operation of Hovde Houses, which are homes that provide shelter, supportive services, education and love to vulnerable street children." 

The website of Hovde’s company, Hovde Properties, describes them as providing "shelter, care, education and love to vulnerable children that were abandoned on the street or trafficked." It also refers to them as Hovde Homes. 

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Hovde’s campaign website also mentions the shelters under a section titled "Hovde’s Heart." Twelve shelters have been completed to date in Bolivia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Peru, Rwanda and Wisconsin, according to the site, and one is in progress in Costa Rica. 

Beyond the above, little information exists online about the shelters. A 2014 Wisconsin State Journal article says Hovde opened the first one in Mexico City in 2006, which had served more than 200 homeless children. 

Still, it’s clear that those were the homes he was referencing, not private homes. 

It appears that Heartland Signal, too, realized the distinction. 

"While not mentioned in his speech, Hovde appears to be referring to his charitable foundation, Hovde Homes," they replied to the original X post. 

Our ruling 

Progressive outlet Heartland Signal claimed that "Eric Hovde says he understands the tragedy of children being trafficked through Central America because he owns three homes there." 

The homes he spoke of are shelters for vulnerable children, not residences. The original post left that distinction up to the public to suss out. 

Our definition of Mostly False is a statement that contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. 

That fits here. 



Our Sources

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Businessman Eric Hovde enters U.S. Senate race, setting up Wisconsin contest against Tammy Baldwin," Feb. 20, 2024

Heartland Signal – About Us, accessed Feb. 21, 2024

Heartland Signal X post and reply, Feb. 20, 2024

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Who is Eric Hovde? What to know about Republican candidate challenging Tammy Baldwin," Feb. 21, 2024

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bice: Eric Hovde transferred $2.3 million D.C. house to his brother in August," Feb. 20, 2024 

Hovde Foundation website, accessed Feb. 21, 2024

Hovde Properties website, accessed Feb. 21, 2024

Hovde’s campaign website, accessed Feb. 21, 2024

Wisconsin State Journal, "Hovde Houses help children in need," Aug. 25, 2014

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Claim that GOP candidate Eric Hovde ‘owns three homes in Central America’ is Mostly False

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