06/21/2012 05:23 pm ET

Eric Hovde, GOP Senate Candidate, Gets 'Outpouring Of Support' After Attacking Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- Republican Senate candidate Eric Hovde has received a "great response" to his attacks on The Huffington Post, according to his campaign, after the Wisconsin businessman challenged this site's founder to a debate and attempted to raise money off of the misdeeds of the "Liberal Media."

"We have received an outpouring of support from across the nation, both in fundraising and in words of encouragement," said Sean Lansing, a spokesman for Hovde.

On Monday, The Huffington Post reported that Hovde said he was sick and tired of reading sad articles about people struggling in the recession, rather than stories about larger problems facing the country like the national debt.

"I see a reporter here," he said during a Friday speech at the Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce. "I just pray that you start writing about these issues. I just pray. Stop always writing about, 'Oh, the person couldn't get, you know, their food stamps or this or that.' You know, I saw something the other day -- it's like, another sob story, and I'm like, 'But what about what's happening to the country and the country as a whole?' That's going to devastate everybody."

Lansing later clarified that the candidate believed that "issues like waste, fraud, abuse and out-of-control government spending are what's really hurting the poor" and should receive more coverage.

Hovde faced criticism for his remarks, leading him to send out a press release Wednesday accusing this outlet of taking him out of context.

"I find it shameful that Arianna Huffington who, through her heritage, is well-versed on the devastating effect the debt crisis has had on Greek society, entitlements and their lower and middle classes would use my comments out of context to attack me,” said Hovde. "I will gladly debate Ms. Huffington any time and any place in front of a room full of journalists on what she has done for the less fortunate versus what I have done.”

Later on Wednesday, his campaign launched a fundraising solicitation on the issue, touting the work he has done for low-income communities. "The Liberal Media is at it again, and our campaign is their target," the solicitation reads.

At a luncheon sponsored by the political site WisPolitics.com on Thursday, Hovde denied being against against poor people. "I have done more for people that are economically disadvantaged than probably -- and I've never talked about it publicly because I keep it very low-profile -- than all but for a very few people in our society," he said.

Lansing told the Wisconsin State Journal that Hovde "regrets that people took his remarks out of context" but stands by his broader point.

Though he declined to share how much the fundraising solicitation had raised, Lansing told The Huffington Post it had gotten a "great response."

"Most importantly, this issue has drawn attention to so many worthy causes, including the Hovde Foundation, Meals on Wheels and No Greater Sacrifice," he said.

Hovde is competing against state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, former Rep. Mark Neumann and former Gov. Tommy Thompson for the Republican Senate nomination. The winner will face Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) in November.

A Marquette Law School poll released on Wednesday found Thompson holding an 8 point lead over Baldwin in a hypothetical match-up. Baldwin was tied with Neumann and beating Fitzgerald and Hovde.

(Hovde's initial "sob story" comment is in the video at the top of this story, along with 14 minutes of his remarks in Brookfield.)