Kid Rock's flirt with Senate run news to Michigan GOP
If Kid Rock is really preparing to run for U.S. Senate, it’s news to the Michigan Republican Party.
The Michigan GOP has “not had any contact with him at all,” spokeswoman Sarah Anderson said Thursday, “so I can’t speak to the validity of it.”
Although the state party does not endorse in Republican primaries, potential candidates typically talk to GOP leaders and activists around the state before launching campaigns.
Rock, a Romeo native and Republican whose real name is Bob Ritchie, stoked anticipation Wednesday with a series of messages on Twitter, including one with a mock image of a Kid Rock for U.S. Senate lawn sign.
“I have had a ton of emails and texts asking me if this website is real… http://kidrockforsenate.com The answer is an absolute YES,” he wrote.
Notably, he did not say the campaign is real, and some observers argued the website may be part of a marketing ploy for a new album or upcoming concerts.
The website features a picture of Rock seated on a star-spangled throne and advertises the sale of logoed T-shirts, yard-signs, hats and stickers. The online product sales are processed by Warner Bros. Records, his label, not a campaign.
“Stay tuned, I will have a major announcement in the near future,” he wrote in a subsequent tweet.
Rock has not filed any paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, which is required if he wants to raise money for a campaign. Product sales on his website also do not appear to meet federal campaign finance compliance rules.
Is it a hoax? This much we know for sure: Rock is due to open Little Caesars Arena in September with six shows at the new Detroit venue.
At a press event earlier this year, Rock said he would have new music out in time for the concerts. No new album has been announced as of yet, but Rock has been working on his follow-up to 2015’s “First Kiss” for several months.
Republicans are hoping to challenge U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing, one of 10 Democrats nationwide up for re-election in a state won last year by GOP President Donald Trump.
“I know we both share a love of music,” Stabenow, a pianist, said of Rock in a statement. “I concede he is better at playing the guitar and I’ll keep doing what I do best, which is fighting for Michigan.”
Declared Republican candidates include former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Young and former Trump state campaign co-chair Lena Epstein.
“Hey Kid: Welcome 2 the party!” Epstein said Wednesday on her Facebook page. “I hope we have the opportunity to campaign across the state together and talk about all the reasons we need to take the fight directly to Debbie Stabenow, defund sanctuary cities, and implement pro-growth America First economic policies.”
Rock is a major supporter of Trump, and he visited the White House a few months ago, along with Ted Nugent, as a guest of 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. He performed last summer at the Republican National Convention.
Rock would certainly shake up the Republican Senate primary race and the general election if he were to make it that far, but observers are skeptical about his potential run.
“Well, good luck to him. That’s ridiculous,” said Larry Sabato, a political analyst at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
“Trump opened the door and now all these celebrities think they are headed for high office, and they aren’t. The sun and the moon and the planets all aligned for just perfectly for Trump to just win a squeaker in 2016, like in Michigan, and it’s highly unlikely they’re going to align again – particularly in 2018, given how unpopular Trump is.”