Kid Rock Claims Steve Bannon Pushed Him To Run For Senate
On Tuesday, country-rap star Kid Rock admitted he won't run for U.S. Senate, after teasing a potential run for months. But the other thing he admitted on Howard Stern's SiriusXM radio show was that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon reportedly highly encouraged his candidacy.
When Stern asked Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, if anyone had supported his bid for Senate, he replied, "Bannon." Ritchie added, “Everybody. This — and I’m getting letters from all over — I would say — the world.”
According to The Daily Beast, Bannon has been in contact with Kid Rock since the rumors of his running for Senate first came about. Bannon was reportedly communicating with the singer while still working in the White House earlier in 2017, and they've been in touch ever since, the site reports. Bannon, the former chairman of Breitbart News, was reportedly hoping that Ritchie would unseat Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.
Stern also informed Ritchie that former governor of New York George Pataki endorsed him. "Kid Rock is exactly the kind of candidate the GOP needs right now," Pataki tweeted in August. That's when Ritchie finally put the rumors to rest. "F*ck no I'm not running for Senate," he said. "Are you f*cking kidding me? Who couldn't f*cking figure that out?"
Ritchie said one of his employees had told him someone suggested he was running for Senate in Michigan. "I said, 'F*ck it, let's get some signs made," he told Stern. "We started going with it. Everyone gets their panties in a bunch. I have people who work with me, they're on the in, I'm like 'f*ck no we're not doing it, but let's roll with it.'"
Kid Rock linked kidrockforsenate.com from his official Twitter account and began tweeting images of lawn signs, political stances, and campaign merch his supporters could buy, like "Kid Rock for U.S. Senate" t-shirts. "I have had a ton of emails and texts asking me if this website is real," he wrote in July. "The answer is an absolute YES."
Ritchie is a proud Republican, supporting Donald Trump in 2016 and Mitt Romney in 2012, according to Politico. The news outlet reported in August that Kid Rock was gaining establishment GOP support for his Senate run. A super PAC called the Senate Leadership Fund, that has Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's backing, expressed support for the musician's run against Stabenow.
“We’d be actually very interested in his candidacy,” Steven Law, the group’s president, told C-SPAN at the time. “I certainly wouldn’t count him out.” Ritchie was trailing Stabenow by just 8 points, according to a poll conducted by RealClearPolitics, which Law said isn't a "bad place to start."
Among Kid Rock's faux political stances was: “I believe if you work your butt off and pay taxes, you should be able to easily understand and navigate the laws, tax codes, health care and anything else the government puts in place that affects us all."
While Kid Rock said he was taking himself out of the race for now, despite Bannon's apparent encouragement to run, he didn't totally rule out the possibility. He told Stern he'd potentially run in the future if the "left wing keeps f*cking" with him.