Musician Kid Rock has made waves since he hinted that he may challenge Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in November 2018. But Michigan rules may prohibit the name Kid Rock and force him to use his real name Robert Ritchie. Roll Call reported:

If Ritchie were to submit enough valid signatures to make the ballot and indicate that he wanted to be listed as “Kid Rock,” the Michigan Bureau of Elections staff would have to research the question of whether that name would be allowed. At an initial glance, Ritchie’s stage name isn’t an obviously acceptable one under the state’s criteria.

Roll Call pointed out that the Michigan law “Affidavit of Identity and Receipt of Filing” has five stipulations regarding which name a candidate may use on the ballot:

For example, a candidate “may specify that both his or her given name and middle name, or only a middle name, shall appear on the ballot,” or “may specify a name that constitutes a common law name in accordance with the Michigan Department of State Guidelines.” But according to the rules, candidates may not use a “nickname that is not a recognized diminutive of the candidate’s given name.”

Of course, it’s possible that Ritchie may want to appear as a more traditional candidate and opt against using his stage name, but then he would put a serious dent into his name identification advantage and corresponding outsider brand.

Kid Rock has already sold merchandise that says Kid Rock 2018.

He has also tweeted out quotes of his with the slogan Kid Rock 2018.

Roll Call claims that “[I]t’s also premature to assume that because Donald Trump was elected president, any celebrity can win.”

Okay, that is true, but some polls have shown Kid Rock with an edge on Stabenow. Last month, a poll from Delphi Analytics, whose website also launched in July, showed Kid Rock up on Stabenow:

Of respondents who stated a preference between Debbie Stabenow and Robert Ritchie, 54% stated they would vote for Ritchie while 46% said they would vote for Debbie Stabenow. These results could indicate that Ritchie is a popular figure in Michigan, Debbie Stabenow is unpopular, or some combination of concurrent trends. The relatively large, 44%, number of undecided respondents may be due to the early stages of the campaign.

The graphic on the webpage showed the musician listed as Robert “Kid Rock” Ritchie.

Roll Call cited another poll:

In a July 25-27 automated poll by the Trafalgar Group, a Republican-affiliated polling firm, Ritchie led Stabenow 49-46 percent in a hypothetical general election matchup. But the fact that his stage name was included to introduce him to respondents helped boost his standing.

Ritchie also led the hypothetical GOP primary with 50 percent against former Trump campaign state co-chairwoman Lena Epstein (9 percent), former Army Ranger/businessman John James (7 percent), and retired state Supreme Court Justice Bob Young Jr. (6 percent). Kid Rock’s name ID advantage certainly factored into his early advantage.

I blogged last month about an article in Politico that showed Kid Rock could legitimately have a chance to beat Stabenow. It’s not just his name, but he actually has a massive presence within his community:

People have laughed him off, but Politico warned on Sunday that it’d be a huge mistake not to take Kid Rock seriously. As I said, Delphi Analytics just launched its website this month, but the findings go along the lines with this article.

Kid Rock hasn’t had much musical success lately and the announcement coincides with new music he’s released. Politico reminds its readers “that theory doesn’t appear consistent with the man himself.” The article continued:

Ritchie, who already boasts a huge and devoted following, has sold tens of millions of albums and amassed what he calls “fuck you money”—enough of it, in fact, that he has given seven-figure sums to charity and capped ticket prices to his concerts at $20 to make them accessible to working-class fans. Meanwhile, he’s earned a reputation in his native southeast Michigan as someone who is earnest when it comes to civic involvement, helping local businesses and headlining major philanthropic events. When Mitt Romney asked for his endorsement ahead of the pivotal Michigan primary in 2012, Ritchie invited him to his Metro Detroit home and peppered him with a list of policy questions, sleeping on the decision before informing Romney the next day he would support him. The two forged an unexpected bond: Romney adopted the patriotic rock anthem “Born Free” as his official campaign song, and Ritchie later praised the former Massachusetts governor as “the most decent motherfucker I’ve ever met in my life.”