When politics and celebrities collide, it can be hard to know what's real and what's merely a publicity stunt. Case in point, musician Kid Rock hinted at a possible Senate run in Michigan on Wednesday. But is the singer-rapper-songwriter-turned-ardent-Trump-supporter being serious?
Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, took to social media Wednesday to confirm the legitimacy of a website teasing a 2018 Senate campaign. "I have had a ton of emails and texts asking me if this website is real… kidrockforsenate.com The answer is an absolute YES," Kid Rock said in a tweet posted Wednesday. "Stay tuned, I will have a major announcement in the near future," he wrote in a follow-up tweet. The same message was posted to the singer's Facebook page.
But no Federal Election Committee records could be found filed under either "Kid Rock," "Robert Ritchie," or "Robert James Ritchie" as of Thursday morning. Moreover, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser told the Washington Post he'd not heard anything from Ritchie about a potential Senate campaign.
So, is the website proof that Ritchie is truly venturing into politics or simply promotional material for a new album? As of right now, it's hard to tell. Publicists for Ritchie have directed news outlets to the singer's Facebook announcement. Ritchie's team did not immediately return Bustle's inquiry into whether the singer would really attempt to unseat Michigan's Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
Featuring a photo of a fedora- and sunglasses-clad Ritchie sitting next to a stuffed deer in colonial-inspired office, the website asks visitors, "Are you scared?" and offers only a link to purchase various "Kid Rock for US Senate" merchandise through Warner Bros. Records. Additional (campaign?) slogans, such as, "You've Never Met a Politician Quite Like Me," "Get in the Senate and Try to Help Someone," "In Rock We Trust," and "Pimp of the Nation" rotate through.
Although it's impossible to predict whether Ritchie's celebrity status would help or hinder him in a possible bid for U.S. Senate, unseating Sen. Stabenow is not likely to be an easy feat. According to the Hill, Stabenow, who also served two terms in the House of Representatives, won two re-election campaigns with double-digit margins in 2006 and 2012.
Oddly, this isn't the first time Ritchie's name has been mentioned as a potential candidate to help Michigan Republicans' long-standing efforts to unseat Stabenow. In February, Michigan GOP Press Officer Sarah Anderson told Fox News she thought Ritchie "would be awesome" in the Senate.
"I have not talked to Kid Rock about that," she said. "I think he would be awesome. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a movement for him to run, but to my knowledge he has not been asked."
While it's still unclear if Michigan will actually see a Kid Rock for U.S. Senate campaign, Stabenow appeared to welcome Ritchie as a potential challenger Thursday. "I know we both share a love of music," she said in a tweet. "I concede he's better at playing guitar and I'll keep doing what I do best: fighting for Michigan."
It remains unclear when exactly Ritchie will drop his "major announcement."