It’s been a confusing time for Kid Rock fans who thought the musician was actually going to run for a Senate seat in 2018. But he’s not.
The 47-year-old Republican performer, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, publicly tossed around the idea for months, suggesting he might go up against Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). He even sold t-shirts bearing the message “Kid Rock for US Senate” and other political merchandise through the Warner Bros. Records’ website.
However, such political activity sparked a liberal-leaning watchdog group called Common Cause to lodge an ethics complaint last September against Ritchie for violating campaign finance law.
“Regardless of whether Kid Rock says he’s only exploring candidacy, he’s selling ‘Kid Rock for Senate’ merchandise and is a candidate under the law. This is campaign finance law 101,” Common Cause’s Paul S. Ryan said at the time.
As a result, the musician is donating roughly $122,000 to CRNC Action, an affiliate of the College Republican National Committee, a publicist for Kid Rock told The Detroit News on Monday. The group organized voter registration drives at his concerts last year.
The Grammy Award nominee ended speculation about his supposed Senate run last October, telling Howard Stern on the radio host’s SiriusXM show, “F— no, I’m not running for Senate.”
“Are you f—ing kidding me? Who couldn’t figure that out?” Ritchie commented to Stern. “I’m releasing a new album. I’m going on tour, too. Are you f—ing shitting me?”
Ritchie further noted that he gave some of his team a heads-up that he had no intention of trading concert tours for the campaign trail.
“I have people that work for me, they’re on the in, I’m like, ‘F— no we’re not doing it. But let’s roll with it for a little while. This is awesome.’”
Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena was packed to the rafters Friday night as Rock kicked off his 2018 “American Rock n Roll Tour,” USA Today reported last week:
Rock exclaimed, “Thank you! Good night!” He and the band ran off, and the stage went black. That seemed to turn the remaining 95 percent of the show into an “encore,” and it began with Rock’s highly publicized “Senate Speech” — a rhyming tirade he performed at several shows last year. He apparently hasn’t retired it after revealing the “campaign” was a ruse, and its content —touching on health care, deadbeat dads, Black Lives Matter and more — hasn’t changed.
He’s previously expressed support for President Donald Trump — and continues to sell t-shirts that refer to the “blue states” of the United States as “Dumbf—istan” — but Rock now seems drawn to celebrating parts of America that transcend political parties. Before performing his classic rock-leaning hit “Born Free,” a video was shown saluting those who serve in the military, with Rock narrating.