Kid Rock’s apparent announcement that he plans to run for Senate surprised many – but the rock star has been involved in politics for quite a while.
Rock – who was born Robert Ritchie – said on social media last week that the website kidrockforsenate.com is, in fact, real. He plans to challenge incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who has held office since 2001.
While the 46-year-old is known mostly for his lucrative and eclectic music career, Rock has also been politically active.
“I came into this business with two middle fingers in the air,” Kid Rock told Howard Stern in 2012. “If I had realized you could just be political and piss people off so much I would have done this s--t a long time ago.”
Read on to find out more about Rock’s political involvement.
At a Michigan rally for 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Kid Rock performed a small concert for the event.
Rock later told radio host Howard Stern that he talked with Romney to make sure he would help Detroit. Romney agreed and gained the musician’s support, Rock said.
Romney used Rock’s “Born Free” for his campaign theme song.
Rock said he bought a semiautomatic gun with a silencer “when Obummer came into office” as he was worried the former president would “ban guns."
“If all the guns were taken from American citizens, the only ones who would have guns would be the damn outlaws,” Rock said in a long-ranging interview with Rolling Stone.
When asked by the New York Times’ Magazine if he would endorse anyone in the 2016 presidential election, Rock said he liked Republican candidate Ben Carson.
“I’m very interested in the things that Ben Carson has to say,” Rock said in February 2015.
Confederate flag controversy
Following the 2015 massacre of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., several groups protested Rock and museum exhibits showcasing his work.
The demonstrators demanded Rock stop displaying the Confederate flag, which he used in shows in the early 2000s.
“Please tell the people who are protesting to kiss my a--,” Rock said in a statement at the time.
The protests were eventually called off as Rock’s representatives said the flag hadn’t been used since 2011 when the Detroit chapter of the NAACP gave him a Great Expectations Award.
Rock told Rolling Stone in February 2016 that he was “digging” then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and predicted that he could win the White House.
“To me, I'm just like, ‘We gotta try something else,’ and ... I'm not an expert at political science or anything. I do try to follow things, obviously. I'm a pretty good, tax-paying citizen of this country,” Rock said. “Let the business guy in there. It's not really working too well running it not like a business. I mean, what business f-----g survives when they're f------g broke?”
Rock, along with fellow musician Ted Nugent and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, visited Trump at the White House in April.
Rock’s campaign website is pretty bare. It only includes links to campaign merchandise and music videos.
On Facebook, Rock said he still plans to release music throughout his campaign just as “politicians write books during their campaigns.”
“It’s not a hoax, it’s a strategy and marketing 101!” Rock said.
“Senator Stabenow and I do share a love of music, although probably not the same kind,” Rock continued on Facebook. “I concede she is better at playing politics than I am so I’ll keep doing what I do best, which is being a voice for tax paying, hardworking AMERICANS and letting politicians like her know that We the People are sick and tired of their bulls-t!”
He also released what appears to be part of his campaign platform on social media.
“I believe 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 said.