Kid Rock, the singer whose career has spanned rap, hard rock and country music, is fueling the speculation that he intends to announce a bid for the U.S. Senate next year to challenge incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow. That is unless it's all a publicity stunt.
In a post on his personal website Thursday evening, the 46-year-old singer wrote, "Like politicians write books during their campaigns, I'm planning on putting out music during mine and IT ALL STARTS TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT."
The post continued, "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..."
Earlier this week, Kid Rock, whose legal name is Robert James Ritchie, tweeted a picture of a "Kid Rock for US Senate" sign along with what appears to be a campaign website.
But after a teasing a big announcement in his Thursday post, Kid Rock announced he's releasing two new songs on Friday.
So far, Ritchie has not filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. The Kid Rock for Senate website sells campaign-themed merchandise but directs to a Warner Bros. record label website to complete transactions. That site does not ask the questions campaign websites must ask, such as whether the donor is an American citizen. The FEC says candidates must register if they raise or spend more than $5,000.
In recent years, Kid Rock has become increasingly identified with conservative politics. Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign used his song, "Born Free" as its campaign theme song. Earlier this year, he attended a dinner at the White House with President Trump and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
While Kid Rock's hard living rock-and-roll lifestyle, which includes a sex tape and assault charges, would traditionally be considered a liability for a political candidate, the success of President Trump's campaign last year may encourage more unconventional candidates to run for office.
And a lot of what's adding fuel to the speculation is Trump's slim-but-surprising upset victory last year in Michigan. Republicans are hoping it's the start of a reversal of fortune in a state that typically sends Democrats to the Senate.
Stabenow, who was first elected to the Senate in 2000, is not considered one of the Senate's most endangered Democrats in 2018. In a tweet, Stabenow, who plays guitar, gently poked fun at Kid Rock's statements and vowed to "keep doing what I do best: fighting for Michigan."
Her campaign tried to capitalize on the spectacle by blasting out a fundraising e-mail.
The subject line is: "Kid Rock... for Senate?"
"We don't know if this is for real or just a publicity stunt. But after Donald Trump's surprising win last year, we need to act fast." It then asks for a $5 online donation.
Stu Sandler, a Republican campaign consultant in Michigan, says it's not clear what Kid Rock's intentions are, but it's created a buzz about the upcoming campaign.
"I really don't know, but it's kind of a fun ride. He seems to be pretty emphatic by his own language, and he's added some excitement.
"The bottom line is he's not like any traditional candidate so he can do things other people can't."