When Kid Rock first announced he planned to run for Senate in 2018, most people thought it was either a joke or a publicity stunt for the two new singles he released from his upcoming album. But Bobby Ritchie seems dead serious about it—and a report in Politico lays out the case for why he’s got a real shot.
Sure, the rock star is “an opposition researcher’s dream come true” Politico Magazine notes, given his provocative lyrics, drug use, drinking, sexual promiscuity, and run-ins with the law. But to dismiss him completely would be a “huge miscalculation” and prove the left learned no lessons from the 2016 presidential election.
Yes, healthy skepticism is warranted: Not a single prominent Republican in Michigan told us they’d heard from Ritchie or his associates about a campaign. Good musicians are great marketers, and Kid Rock has been brilliant in terms of creating and selling a brand. His flirtation with electoral politics could be nothing more than a promotional ploy aimed at rekindling interest in his career—he’s had only one single reach any of Billboard’s charts in the past four years—and boosting his bottom line. And yet this theory doesn’t appear consistent with the man himself: Ritchie, who already boasts a huge and devoted following, has sold tens of millions of albums and amassed what he calls “f**k you money”—enough of it, in fact, that he has given seven-figure sums to charity and capped ticket prices to his concerts at $20 to make them accessible to working-class fans. Meanwhile, he’s earned a reputation in his native southeast Michigan as someone who is earnest when it comes to civic involvement, helping local businesses and headlining major philanthropic events. When Mitt Romney asked for his endorsement ahead of the pivotal Michigan primary in 2012, Ritchie invited him to his Metro Detroit home and peppered him with a list of policy questions, sleeping on the decision before informing Romney the next day he would support him. The two forged an unexpected bond: Romney adopted the patriotic rock anthem “Born Free” as his official campaign song, and Ritchie later praised the former Massachusetts governor as “the most decent motherfu**er I’ve ever met in my life.”
None of this guarantees Ritchie will run, but it suggests he shouldn’t be mocked when he says he’s thinking about it—especially now that the media and the left have summarily and sneeringly popped his trial balloon. This same dismissiveness greeted (and motivated) Donald Trump throughout the 2016 campaign … (Politico)
The magazine also declares “his path to the U.S. Senate is far easier than Trump’s was to the White House” given the president was up against 16 opponents, most of whom were well-known and well-financed. Ritchie would only face a field of three little known candidates.
“Presuming Kid Rock doesn’t get caught in bed with a little boy, or beat up a woman between now and August 2018, he’s going to win the nomination if he gets in,” Dennis Lennox, a Republican political consultant in Michigan, told Politico. “I think there’s no question about that. I think he’s the prohibitive favorite if he gets in.”
The challenges he’d face are plenty, however—not least of which would be defeating a popular incumbent, Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
Still, the possibility shouldn’t be dismissed.
“The fact that he’s non-traditional is appealing to a lot of people. Obviously it scares others who want someone more predictable,” Saul Anuzis, former chairman of the Michigan GOP, told Politico. “But if you’re going to beat an entrenched candidate like Debbie Stabenow in a purple state, you need to do something different.”
Ritchie is also popular in Michigan.
“He’s a hometown darling. He’s got deep connections to Detroit. He’s done a lot throughout the state,” Anuzis added. “Anybody who’s writing him off is making a mistake.”