Update: Kid Rock Opens Detroit Arena

In the end, the political aspirations of musician Kid Rock were not laid bare Tuesday night before thousands of screaming fans when the rocker performed the first of six concerts at a new sports arena in Detroit.

For much of the summer, the Detroit-area native has teased a Republican run for the U.S. Senate. He continued doing so at the concert but did not say if he would enter the race.

Kid Rock
Scott Legato / RockStarProPhotography.com
– Kid Rock
DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston, Mich.

Kid Rock’s real name is Robert Ritchie. It is not clear which name could appear on the ballot if he runs – something that might make a difference in how well he would do.

“If Robert Ritchie were to submit enough valid signatures to make the ballot and he indicated that he wanted to be listed as ‘Kid Rock’ in some way on the ballot, Bureau of Elections staff would have to research further the question of whether that name would be allowed,” Fred Woodhmans, a spokesman for the Michigan secretary of state’s office told The Associated Press in an email.

Already, two Republicans have declared their candidacies for incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s seat. Stabenow, who easily won re-election in 2006 and 2012, will seek a fourth term and is expected to formally launch her campaign next year.

Kid Rock – who first gained commercial success in the late 1990s with rap rock music but has been more associated with country music in recent years – has not been bashful about his political leanings. He endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president in 2012 and Republican Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.

He hinted on social media in July that a website teasing his candidacy for Senate was real. His publicist said Kid Rock would give fans exclusive insight on his political views and aspirations after his first song Tuesday at

He was introduced as Michigan’s “next senator” and talked about running for president. He criticized the government’s “redistribution of wealth” to help “some deadbeat milking the system” and said he has no problem with gay marriage. He blasted Nazis and the KKK and said he loves black and white people “but neither as much as I love red, white and blue.”

His appearance was met by dozens of protesters from a civil rights group. One counter-demonstrator held a Confederate flag.

The National Action Network’s Detroit chapter said Kid Rock’s embrace of the Confederate flag, expletive-laced criticism of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and unabashed support for Trump have no place in Detroit, where about 80 percent of the city’s 680,000 residents are black. Kaepernick, who is black, refused to stand during the national anthem while with the San Francisco 49ers last year in protest of police violence and social injustice.

Kid Rock, who is white, lashed out Monday at National Action Network in a Facebook post, saying politics are behind the threatened protest.

“Pay NO attention to the garbage the extreme left is trying to create!” he wrote. “They are trying to use the old confederate flag (issue), etc. to stir the pot, when we all know none of this would be going on if I were not thinking of running for office.”

Meanwhile, the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday that Kid Rock denied the newspaper credentials to the show because of a recent column that criticized having the musician as the arena’s opening act.

“We won’t reward bad behavior,” Kid Rock’s publicist, Kirt Webster, told the newspaper.

To make the 2018 ballot, Kid Rock would need to submit 15,000 valid signatures by April 24.

Pollster Ed Sarpolus of Target-Insyght said Kid Rock is better positioned than other GOP candidates for now because “he’s got name ID and he’s likable.”

The two declared Republican candidates are former state Supreme Court Justice Robert Young Jr. and businesswoman Lena Epstein. No one has filed to run for the Senate seat, Woodhams said.

If Kid Rock were to advance to face Stabenow, Sarpolus said, it would be tough to beat her.

“Where the battle’s going to be played is where do the independents go were he to run?” Sarpolus said. “Both have known numbers. This is a battle of the fringes.”

Kid Rock Denies Detroit Newspaper Credential – Joe Reinartz (Posted Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 4:56 pm PDT)

Kid Rock denied press credentials for the Detroit Free Press for tonight’s show, Sept. 12, when Rock debuts Detroit’s new Little Caesars Arena.  Rock, through his publicist, made no bones about it: the denial was in retaliation to an opinion piece recently published in the newspaper.

Kid Rock has drawn media attention recently for starting his shows with a faux political speech, in verse, behind a podium with a faux presidential seal. The rap touches on all of the hot button issues / red-meat topics of the conservative bend such as welfare and former quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s political protest of the American flag. That, somehow, along with a long-discarded use of the Confederate flag during performances, helped lead to accusations of racism with some civil rights activists claiming they would protest the Little Caesars performances.

Free Press Editorial Page Editor Stephen Henderson criticized the decision to open the stadium with Kid Rock.

“This is a musician who got rich off crass cultural appropriation of black music, who used to wrap his brand in the Confederate flag,” Henderson wrote.  Kid Rock pushed back, noting his NAACP award from Detroit in 2011, which he accepted at a ceremony he attended with his bi-racial son, although the event was not without controversy. Henderson’s article inspired a lengthy Facebook post by Rock. 

Although Henderson’s column was opinion, it was considered factually inaccurate by Rock’s camp.

Rock’s publicist, Kirt Webster, referred Pollstar to his quote to the Freep.

“You guys wrote a f**ked up story and allowed it to be published. You want a quote, there it is,” Webster said.  “(Interim supervisor) Jeff Taylor approved it and it was f**ked up. To be published without doing any fact checking on what Kid Rock has done for the city of Detroit? We don’t condone bad behavior. We won’t reward bad behavior.”

That doesn’t mean the Freep won’t be in attendance. The newspaper is one of the few left that buys show tickets because it does not approve of free passes. The credential would deny the reporter / critic access to the media room, according to the paper.