Wisconsin Senate Primary Attracts Star Musician Power

Posted July 25, 2012 at 11:00pm

Rock musician Ted Nugent and country music star Rodney Atkins are scheduled to travel to Wisconsin to headline events for GOP Senate primary candidates.

Nugent is set to perform Thursday for former Gov. Tommy Thompson; Atkins is scheduled to perform for businessman Eric Hovde on Aug. 1. The campaigns hope to translate the musicians’ star power into enthusiasm as the campaign for the primary nomination enters its final weeks.

“This is a rally, a serious rally, for my friend and the great American blood brother for freedom, U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson,” Nugent says in a voice recording sent to Thompson supporters. “If you want upgraded quality of life for the American dream, vote U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson.”

The Atkins event was described by the Hovde campaign as the kickoff to its get-out-the-vote effort.

Nugent, a prominent supporter of Second Amendment rights who endorsed Thompson this spring, has been an active voice on the campaign trail. He held a rally for Thompson in late July and will hold another Thursday.

The visibility of Nugent in the Thompson campaign came under the criticism of some local observers. Nugent has gained notoriety for controversial comments about President Barack Obama.

“If Barack Obama becomes the president again in November, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year,” Nugent said at a National Rifle Association conference in April. “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”

The GOP primary is Aug. 14 and also features former Rep. Mark Neumann and ex-state Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald. The winner will face presumptive Democratic nominee Rep. Tammy Baldwin.