By Ben Klayman
DETROIT (Reuters) – Recording star Kid Rock, an outspoken supporter of Republican President Donald Trump, hinted in website and social media messages on Wednesday that he intends to run for the U.S. Senate in 2018, promising a “major announcement” to come soon.
The 46-year-old Michigan native drew attention on Twitter and his Facebook page to a “Kid Rock ’18 for U.S. Senate” website. It featured a photo of the goateed singer-songwriter wearing a leather jacket, dark glasses and white fedora, seated in a plush, star-spangled chair beside a stuffed deer above the tagline: “Are you scared?”
The site also displays images of a T-shirt, baseball cap and bumper sticker emblazoned with the campaign logo, “Kid Rock for US Senate” and a box of alternating slogans, including, “In Rock We Trust,” “Party to the People” and “You Never Met a Politician Quite Like Me.”
“I have a ton of emails and texts asking me if this website is real … The answer is an absolute YES,” he said on his verified Twitter account. “Stay tuned, I will have a major announcement in the near future.”
Reached by email, the musician’s spokesman, Kirt Webster, referred only to Rock’s Facebook page, which bore the same message. His music label, Warner Bros Records, also posted a website offering sales of Kid Rock for U.S. Senate merchandise.
Born Robert James Ritchie in the Detroit suburb of Romeo, Michigan, he rose to fame in 1998 as his debut album “Devil Without a Cause” sold some 14 million copies. He gained additional celebrity through his courtship of actress Pamela Anderson and their brief marriage in the 2000s.
While no mention was made in Wednesday’s online postings about Rock’s political affiliation or in which state he would run, he presumably would seek to challenge Michigan’s Democratic incumbent senator, Debbie Stabenow, who is up for re-election in 2018.
The Capitol Hill-based newspaper Roll Call reported that Rock’s name surfaced as a possible candidate earlier this month during a state Republican Party convention in Michigan, which Trump carried in the 2016 presidential race, though no official decisions were announced.
Stabenow seemed to shrug off the prospect of a political challenge from Rock, saying in a Twitter post: “I know we both share a love of music. I concede he’s better at playing guitar and I’ll keep doing what I do best: fighting for Michigan.”
According to Roll Call, Rock endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president in 2012 and initially supported Ben Carson for the Republican nomination in 2016 but switched to Trump when the former reality-TV star became the party’s nominee.
Afterward, Rock released a line of pro-Trump merchandise, including a T-shirt that read “God Guns & Trump.”
In April, Kid Rock joined fellow rocker and conservative activist Ted Nugent and former Alaska Governor and onetime Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin for a White House visit and dinner with Trump.
Kid Rock would not be the first showbiz figure to make a leap into politics. Besides Trump, he would follow the likes of singer Sonny Bono, who served as a U.S. congressman from California during the 1990s; pro-wrestler and actor Jesse “The Body” Ventura, elected Minnesota governor in 1998; and comedian Al Franken, now serving his second U.S. Senate term from Minnesota.
(Additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)