Kid Rock's Senate bid may not have been serious, but the money he made from fake campaign merchandise was. The musician, born Robert Ritchie, apparently took in more than $100,000 slinging "Kid Rock for Senate" shirts and hats on his website—and all the proceeds have now ended up at a conservative voter registration fund, Detroit News reports.
According to Ritchie's publicist, the musician donated around $122,000 to CRNC Action, an off-shoot of College Republicans who helped run voter registration booths at Kid Rock concerts last year. Ritchie earned the money after announcing last year he would no longer be a devil without a cause and instead run for a seat in the US Senate. He launched a website, got himself a campaign slogan—"Pimp of the Nation"—and started selling a steady stream of campaign gear, drumming up accusations that he was violating campaign finance laws.
The hypothetical Senate run certainly smelled like a publicity stunt, especially since Ritchie never got around to filing the official FEC paperwork, but he wrote in an impassioned blog post that the whole thing was "not a hoax" before admitting to Howard Stern that, well, yeah, it was.
"Fuck no, I'm not running for Senate. Are you fucking kidding me?" Ritchie said during an interview on the Howard Stern Show back in October. "Who couldn't figure that out? I'm releasing a new album. I'm going on tour, too. Are you fucking shitting me?"
It's unclear if the hordes of Kid Rock fans scooping up "Kid Rock for Senate" swag knew the whole thing was a fake, but regardless, the merchandise money rolled in, and now it looks like that money rolled right back out—to CRNC Action. CRNC's president, Ted Dooley, confirmed the donation to Detroit News, telling the paper that it received "around $100k" from the musician at the end of last year.
"All of the money raised from the political merchandise was sent directly to CRNC Action," Dooley said.
Ritchie may have donated all the proceeds from his fake campaign back in December, but most of the "Kid Rock for Senate" items are still for sale on the Warner Bros. site—in case anyone out there is still clinging to the dream of Rock '18.