Republican Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott will reportedly no longer campaign with inflammatory National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent, whose presence on the campaign trail caused a firestorm of controversy due to Nugent's recent description of President Obama as a “subhuman mongrel.”
Nugent, however, is also involved in the campaigns of other Republican office seekers in Texas, Colorado, and Georgia. Last year, Nugent also claimed a close working relationship with prominent members of the GOP, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. At the time, Walker said he did not work with Nugent, and Cruz appeared on CNN's New Day on February 20 to deny he “hang[s] out” with Nugent.
Here are three instances of Nugent campaigning for Republicans and two instances where Nugent's claims about close relationships with prominent GOP figures have been called into question:
Republican Colorado Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Tancredo
In a December 2013 e-mail addressed to “real Americans,” Nugent fundraised for Colorado gubernatorial hopeful Tom Tancredo, a former U.S. Representative best known for his hardline immigration stance. In the fundraising pitch, Nugent wrote that, “like you, I'm terrified by where Barack Obama and his radical America hating leftist goons are leading this great country.” Nugent praised “hero for liberty” Tancredo's opposition to “amnesty for illegal immigrants,” and warned that the Obama administration and democratic governors “are determined to shred our constitution and take away our guns.” “The way I see it is anybody that wants to disarm me can drop dead,” added Nugent.
While much of the controversy surrounding Abbott's decision to campaign with Nugent has related to the rocker's “subhuman mongrel” comment and offensive remarks about women, Texas media has also raised Nugent's inflammatory commentary on immigration. The San Antonio Express noted that Nugent has called for undocumented immigrants to be treated like “indentured servants.” Indeed, Nugent did make that claim in May 2013 when he debuted the “Nuge Immigration Plan,” which would require undocumented male immigrants to build a fence on the United States-Mexico border. The Houston Chronicle reported on a 2008 appearance on Fox News where Nugent said of undocumented immigrants attempting to cross the border, “I'd like to shoot them dead.”
Republican Texas Agriculture Commissioner Candidate Sid Miller
Ted Nugent serves as the co-chair and treasurer for Sid Miller's run for Texas agriculture commissioner, according to an October 2013 report from The Texas Tribune. Nugent told the Tribune, “I do media every day, and I'll raise as much hell as I can.” Miller's endorsements page prominently features Nugent, who called Miller his “blood brother” in a fundraising video.
Miller, a former member of the Texas legislature who was a founding member of its Tea Party caucus, is best known as the sponsor of legislation to require women seeking an abortion to undergo a sonogram, including a transvaginal sonogram in some cases. He was also the sponsor legislation that legalized the hunting of feral hogs from a helicopter in Texas. Nugent is an avid helicopter hog hunter and has produced a number of specials under the “Aporkalypse” name, including a 2013 special where he killed 455 hogs.
While Abbott has quietly distanced himself from Nugent, Miller's spokesperson told The Dallas Morning News yesterday, “We are not going to do anything to distance ourselves from Ted Nugent. If we had concerns about some of the things that Mr. Nugent has said or done, we wouldn't have reached out to him and asked him to become involved in our campaign on such a high level.”
Republican Georgia Congressional Candidate Bob Barr
Bob Barr, who like Nugent sits on the NRA's board of directors, is running for Congress in Georgia's 11th district, after previously serving in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. In June 2013, political website GAPundit.com reported that Nugent would campaign for Barr, a development Barr shared on his Facebook page. A June 2013 fundraiser for Barr also auctioned off a “trophy skull signed by American Icon Ted Nugent.”
Barr's relationship with Nugent has drawn the scrutiny of Marietta Daily Journal columnist Kevin Foley who expressed dismay that Barr, “an honorable and distinguished American,” would associate with Nugent. Citing Nugent's “subhuman mongrel” comment, Foley wrote, “As a candidate for the 11th District, where he would be representing everyone including many Obama supporters, Barr doesn't have the option of ignoring Nugent's scurrilous diatribe. Barr can condemn Nugent or Barr can say nothing, thus giving his tacit approval to Nugent's disgraceful words.”
Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz
During an October 30 Google Hangout hosted by a Detroit radio station, Nugent said, “I'm contacted all the time, I work close with Ted Cruz who is a great patriot, a great statesman.” However, during a February 20 interview on the Abbott-Nugent controversy conducted by CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash, Cruz said, “I'm not cool enough to hang out with any rock stars. Jay Z doesn't come over to my house, I don't hang out with Ted Nugent.”
Bash retorted, “Jay Z doesn't call the president a subhuman mongrel.”
Cruz said he would not make a similar comment about the president, but added, “There is a reason, Ted Nugent, people listen to him, which is he has been fighting passionately for Second Amendment rights.” Cruz said he has not campaigned with Nugent and declined to speculate about whether he would in the future.
Cruz's interview answers gave CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash the impression that, “clearly [Cruz] doesn't appear to know Ted Nugent well, unlike other politicians in Texas.”
Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
During the Google Hangout, Nugent also claimed that he “worked close with Scott Walker's team in Wisconsin when he took it away from the hippies,” an apparent reference to a 2011 showdown between Walker and unions. Nugent's claim was denied by both Walker's campaign and state offices. A state office spokesperson stated, “The governor met Ted Nugent during an NRA convention in Milwaukee years ago when he was Milwaukee county executive. Other than that, our office has not had involvement with him.”