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Kid Rock Campaigns for Michigan Republican Senate Candidate

Musician apologizes for his fake Senate bid last year

Kid Rock attends the Kentucky Derby last month in Louisville, Kentucky. (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images file photo)
Kid Rock attends the Kentucky Derby last month in Louisville, Kentucky. (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images file photo)

If you’re a Kid Rock fan feeling jilted after the country rock star’s short-lived, fake campaign for Senate last year, wallow no more. The Devil Without a Cause might not be challenging Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in Michigan this November, but he thinks he knows who is up to the task.

The musician — whose real name is Robert Ritchie — rallied Tuesday night for Republican candidate John James in Michigan and encouraged Republican voters to support him in the state’s August 7 primary, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Ritchie told the crowd of supporters that James is the “best candidate to lead us on this journey.” James is a young conservative who made his success outside the political sphere “rather than using politics to be successful,” Ritchie said, according to the Detroit News.

The Trump-aligned country-rock icon railed at the media and former President Barack Obama, the Detroit News reported.

He also apologized for his publicity stunt last year in which he repeatedly hinted that he would run for Stabenow’s Senate seat as a Republican. Last fall, Ritchie ginned up a semi-serious national fervor for his fake run, even launching a campaign website and peddling “Kid Rock for Senate 2018” hats, t-shirts and bumper stickers alongside pro-Trump merchandise.

The murmur over a Kid Rock candidacy last summer got as far as garnering polls that purported to show him leading the Republican primary field for the seat. The poll showed Ritchie out-performing James with Republican Michiganders by 17 points.

Ritchie finally snuffed out the fever by October, when he announced on the Howard Stern radio show that the bid had been a hoax to promote an upcoming album and tour.

At Tuesday’s rally, Ritchie asked the crowd to accept his apology, adding, “I hope you’ll also trust me when I say I’m 100 percent here to endorse and do everything I can to make sure John James gets into the U.S. Senate.” 

James is an Iraq War combat veteran and businessman running on a conservative pro-Trump platform. Speaking after Ritchie at the rally, he discussed his campaign themes of job growth and won applause from the friendly crowd for his denunciations of abortion and taking God out of schools.

“I have the experience to work with everybody to accomplish the mission,” James said at the rally. “I have been successful in the toughest of environments, from the battlefields of Baghdad to the boardrooms in Detroit.” 

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzalez rates the race Solid Democratic. But Republicans hope that a strong challenger could help them win the state, which went for Trump in 2016. 

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