Singer and rapper Kid Rock said early Thursday he is launching an organization to promote voter registration, while continuing to explore a “very possible campaign” for U.S. Senate in Michigan.
The hard-partying renegade rocker said he was “beyond overwhelmed” with the response he has received during the last two weeks from Washington pundits to blue-collar folks who are “just simply tired of the extreme left and right bull—-”
“As part of the excitement surrounding this possible campaign, I decided to take a hard look to see if there was real support for me as a candidate and my message or if it was just because it was a fresh new news story,” Rock wrote at midnight on his website.
“One thing is for sure though…The democrats are ‘shattin’ in their pantaloons’ right now…and rightfully so!” Rock continued. “… and if I decide to throw my hat in the ring for US Senate, believe me… it’s game on, m————s,” ending the statement with an epithet.
Rock had teased that he wanted to challenge Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing, who is seeking a fourth term.
He is fiscally conservative and a supporter of the Second Amendment but veers to the left on social issues by supporting gay marriage and a woman’s right to choose on abortion, according to statements within the past three years.
Other candidates for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate include businesswoman Lena Epstein of Bloomfield Hills, who was Trump’s Michigan campaign co-chair; former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bob Young Jr. of Laingsburg; and businessman, military veteran and political novice John James of Farmington Hills.
Rock, 46, stoked anticipation for a potential Senate run July 12 when he tweeted a link to a website hosted by Warner Bros. selling selling merchandise with the logo, “Kid Rock For US Senate.”
Skeptics have argued that his talk is a marketing ploy designed to promote the Kid Rock brand, including two new songs and music videos he released last week.
Rock said Thursday that money raised “at this time” through the sale of merchandise associated with his potential campaign will go toward his voter registration efforts.
“Not only can I raise money for this critical cause, but I can help get people registered to vote at my shows,” Rock wrote.
“The media has speculated this was a ploy to sell shirts or promote something. I can tell you, I have no problem selling Kid Rock shirts and yes, I absolutely will use this media circus to sell/promote whatever I damn well please (many other politicians are doing the same thing, they just feed you a bunch of bull—- about it).”
Rock, whose real name is Robert James Ritchie, has not filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission, which is legally required within 15 days of raising or spending $5,000 for a political campaign. It’s been exactly 15 days since Rock first teased a run for public office.
Last week, he tweeted a photo of himself wearing a “Kid Rock ’18” shirt on a stage with his middle fingers extended in a crude gesture.
He then posted what appeared to be a campaign statement, saying, “if you “work your butt off and pay taxes, you should be able to easily understand and navigate the laws, tax codes, health care and anything else the government puts in place that affects us all.”
Rock grew up on six acres in Romeo with an apple orchard in the back, the son of Susan and Bill Ritchie, who owned several car dealerships. Rock attended Romeo High School. He was briefly married to actress Pamela Anderson in 2006.
As The Detroit News first reported Monday, voter records show that Rock did not vote in Michigan’s 2016 GOP presidential primary election won by President Donald Trump, and cast ballots in just two of 10 other statewide or presidential primaries since 2002.
The self-described Republican originally supported Detroit native Ben Carson ahead of the 2016 Michigan primary, but later praised Trump and performed last year for delegates at the GOP’s national convention in Cleveland.
Rock performed at a ball for Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, but later permitted GOP presidential candidate and Detroit native Mitt Romney to use his song “Born Free” for his 2012 campaign. He also endorsed Romney.
The Clarkston resident hasn’t missed a general election since 2006, when he sat out a cycle that saw Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm win re-election over Republican businessman Dick DeVos. He also missed the 2002 gubernatorial contest when Granholm defeated Republican Dick Posthumus.
Despite touring and other celebrity commitments, Rock has voted in every presidential general election since at least 2000, twice in person and three times by absentee ballots.
The rap-metal star did not vote in the 2012 statewide primary that decided the last GOP nominee to take on Stabenow. Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland won the primary over Detroit area private school founder Clark Durant, but he lost to Stabenow by more than 20 percentage points that fall.
A spokesman for Rock didn’t respond to requests for comment on the musician’s voting record.