Popular celebrity Kid Rock could be the Republicans’ best shot to win next year’s race in the Senate against Sen. Debbie Stabenow ( D-Mich.).
The controversial rock star whose real name is Robert Ritchie is being seen as having the potential to dominate the primary field if he ever decides to enter the race. Recent polls already puts Kid Rock within striking distance of the Democratic incumbent.
Some analysts and even Republicans say his bid remains unlikely. The party remains hopeful, however, that Kid Rock will give it a go since he has the deep pockets to finance a massive campaign, and the universal name identification.
Republican national committeeman from Michigan Robert Steele said: “People know him- he’s an extremely strong brand in Michigan. He’s fought for Detroit, he’s fought hard for kids who want to go to his concerts, he’s fought hard for the working class, he’s a southeast Michigan booster through and through.”
Speculations about Kid Rock running for a Senate seat started circulating in February when a member of the state GOP central committee floated his name as potential candidate. The exciting prospect of Kid Rock running for Republicans only gained steam when the celebrity himself launched a new website, KidRockforSenate.com, in July, and also released statements confirming that he’s considering a run for the Senate. His site also started selling T-shirts with his campaign logo.
For now, three candidates are running for Michigan’s GOP Senate nomination: businessman and former Trump Michigan co-chair Lena Epstein, former Michigan state Supreme Court chief Justice Bob Young and Iraq war veteran and businessman John James. No candidate among the three has taken a clear lead, something that could prove to be an advantage for Kid Rock if he decides to join the mix.
Polling suggests that the rock star would clear the primary field and have a fighting chance for the general. A poll from Trafalgar Group, a Republican-leaning poll, found Kid Rock with 50 percent of the vote in a late July primary poll. Epstein is far behind at second place with only 9 percent. The same poll places Ritchie with a 3-point lead over incumbent Stabenow in general election match-up.
Mike DuHaime, a GOP strategist said: “The reality of politics is there’s never enough money to do what you want, and the one thing you need money for is name identification. Celebrity gets you attention, but you have to turn that into votes. Donald Trump could do that, but it remains to be seen whether others can.”
Kid Rock is no stranger to being political, at least. He’s been an avid supporter of the military who has traveled abroad to perform for charities and fundraisers that support veterans and military families. He’s been a big philanthropist, especially in Detroit. Critics point out, on the other hand, that Kid Rock has his own share of controversies including song themes and lyrics, and allegations of multiple assaults — negative points his contenders can exploit should he decide to run.
But it appears to be a win-win for the Republicans to get Kid Rock involved - if he runs, he stands a great chance of beating the incumbent Democrat. If he decides to just participate in helping the party, he’s a huge asset for campaign and fund-raising. Either way, it’s good for the Republicans.