Kid Rock campaign offers T-shirts, draws interest


LANSING, MI -- Is Michigan ready for U.S. Sen. Kid Rock?

The rap-rock musician has launched a new website teasing his potential campaign to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2018. Available for purchase on the site are Kid Rock 2018 T-shirts, bumper stickers and yard signs.

Yet several political insiders contacted Thursday called his actions a publicity stunt.

"I understand he may have an album coming out soon," said Scott Hagerstrom, who ran Donald Trump's campaign in Michigan in 2016.

Kid Rock's website is not yet copyrighted to a federally registered campaign committee. And as of Thursday evening, the Federal Elections Commission had not received paperwork from the musician to begin the process of opening a campaign committee.

But Kid Rock tweeted Wednesday that he has a major announcement coming in the future. And on Thursday, posting on his blog, the musician said it's not a hoax and he still has 15 days from his announcement to file official paperwork with the elections commission.

At the Michigan Republican Campaign Headquarters, Sarah Anderson said the GOP hasn't had any conversations with Kid Rock about a 2018 campaign. Still, Anderson said, Stabenow is vulnerable.

"We have great candidates coming out," Anderson said. "Some have declared. I think you will see a few more people jump into the race."

So far, Republicans Lena Epstein and Bob Young have officially jumped in the race.

But do Michigan voters prefer Kid Rock?

Medical school student Charlie Hunter said he has concerns, but he won't rule out the musician yet.

"There are some things that he could bring to the table that would be great, but in terms of the unpredictability and the ability to maintain decorum, I have some questions," Hunter said.

Emily Furney, who owns Emily Jane Photography in Lansing, said she has questions too.

"I am not a huge fan of Kid Rock," Furney said. "I would have to see where he stands on stuff, but I know he is a libertarian, which is cool."

Since November, Michigan Republican activist Norm Shinkle began drumming up support for a Kid Rock campaign. After seeing the musician perform in Florida, Shinkle said Kid Rock is a patriot and he hopes he challenges Stabenow.

Stabenow said she and Kid Rock both share a love of music. She conceded that he is better at playing the guitar. But the Democratic senator also said she'll keep doing what she does best, which is fighting for Michigan.

According to sources close to the senator, Stabenow has $5.8 million in cash on hand for re-election in 2018, with more than $2 million of it raised in the past quarter.

On his blog Thursday, Kid Rock offered similar comments: "Senator Stabenow and I do share a love of music, although probably not the same kind. I concede she is better at playing politics than I am, so I'll keep doing what I do best, which is being a voice for tax paying, hardworking Americans and letting politicians like her know that We the People are sick and tired of their bull[----]!"

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