Populism sure is fun
If the political gossip mill is correct, Kid Rock’s name has been dropped for a Michigan Senate run against Democratic incumbent Sen. Stabenow.
Stabenow is up for reelection in 2018.
Robert Ritchie or Kid Rock has long considered himself a libertarian-leaning Republican, supporting Mitt Romney, Ben Carson, and finally Donald Trump’s presidential bids.
Roll Call reports:
The rocker’s name came up as a possible candidate at a Michigan Republican Party convention last weekend. There have been no official decisions announced as of yet.
Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, once said he tended to vote Republican but qualified himself as “more libertarian” to Rolling Stone in 2013. But he has supported several major Republican candidates.
The Michigan native threw his support behind Mitt Romney in 2012 and supported Ben Carson in the 2016 presidential election. He later switched to Donald Trump as he became the party’s nominee.
Rock — or Ritchie — even started to sell pro-Trump merchandise in his official online store including t-shirts with the phrase “God, Guns & Trump” in red, white and blue-colored text.
Stabenow has been in office since 2000 and Inside Elections With Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Democrat, but Republicans feel more confident after Trump’s win there in 2016 — the first GOP presidential candidate to win there since 1988.
Here’s Kid Rock in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning in 2012:
Ousting Sen. Stabenow will be no easy task and it takes more than brand power to win an election. Stabenow is a formidable opponent, winning reelection each term since 2000. Breaking into the Senate, particularly as a first-time candidate typically results in a loss — many have learned this the hard way.
Whether or not Kid Rock ends up on yard signs in lawns across Michigan, the bigger story here is Republican confidence in picking up a long-held Democratic Senate seat. Republicans wouldn’t bother looking for someone with name power or any other decent candidate unless they were willing to sink substantial cash into the race. And the GOP is not going to spend money on a race they’re not confident they might at least have a solid chance of winning.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is already running anti-Stabenow ads in Michigan, highlighting her refusal to support Trump Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch:
From The Detroit News:
While Trump was an outsider with a unique voice, Ballenger said potential candidates like Upton or former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers of Brighton could make things interesting for Stabenow in 2018.
“She’s far more liberal than I think the mainstream voter in this state is,” Ballenger said. “I think she’s potentially vulnerable. The problem is you can’t beat something with nothing.”
Incoming Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser, who will be formally elected to the state party post this weekend, said he has not had any direct discussions with Upton about challenging Stabenow.
“Well, we have to find a good candidate,” he said of the Senate race. “I’m not sure whether Fred is interested in being a candidate. He has not called me, and I’ve had discussions with a few other people, and we’ll find out who the candidates are gonna be, because there could be more than one. There could be a primary.”
Stabenow’s 2012 blowout win over Hoekstra was aided by former President Barack Obama’s double-digit margin of victory in Michigan, “but you can’t overlook the fact she is a very hard worker, a hard campaigner and a very good fundraiser,” Demas said.
Regardless of Stabenow’s electoral muscle, Republicans are “clearly rearing to go, candidate or no,” Demas said. “We’ll see if they can get a top-tier nominee, but they’re certainly trying to lay the groundwork for one.”
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