Kid Rock, the Michigan-raised country-rap musician who teased a potential Senate run for months, finally called the sham off on Tuesday. But not before he revealed that he had been courted to run by former White House strategist Steve Bannon.
During an appearance on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show, Rock (whose real name is Robert Ritchie) wondered aloud who “couldn’t fucking figure” out that he had never been serious about pursuing office—a pursuit he had teased with a number of cryptic tweets. Stern, playing along, asked if there had been anyone who had supported the publicity-stunt bid.
“Bannon,” Ritchie responded. “Everybody. This—and I’m getting letters from all over—I would say—the world.”
Bannon has reportedly been in regular contact with the singer. And The Daily Beast can confirm that Trump’s former chief strategist was communicating with Kid Rock even when Bannon was still working in the White House earlier this year. The two connected months ago when the Kid Rock Senate rumors and flirtations began bubbling up in the press, according to a source familiar with the discussions. Bannon immediately took a personal liking to the rock musician and they have stayed in touch ever since.
The Trump strategist and chairman of Breitbart News has been actively cultivating a number of insurgent challengers to sitting Republicans for the 2018 midterm elections. Had he run, Ritche would have not been seeking to unseat a GOP member but, rather, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
Ritchie’s decision to put an end to the ruse opens the door for other Republicans to make a run at Stabenow’s seat. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI.) reportedly had some trepidation about entering the Senate out of fear over being targeted by Bannon.
In the rest of the Stern interview, Ritchie said that he had not known that he had scored the endorsement of former New York Governor George Pataki. Upon hearing that bit of news, he called it “fucking sweet, though.” Ritchie went on to say that the reporting of The New York Times is a “little bit gay” and that if Stern “had boobs and got fucking—fucking like some hair plugs,” he’d marry him.