On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott helped undo his own party’s efforts to reach out to women and minority voters in inviting Ted Nugent to campaign with him. Outside of Nugent’s music career, the singer is best known as a conservative lightning rod for misogyny and racism.
Abbott praised Nugent at the first campaign stop as “a fighter for freedom in this country.” When introducing Abbott, Nugent called the candidate “my blood brother.”
Even though he embraced Nugent, Abbott’s campaign tried to keep controversies at arm’s length: Nugent has threatened President Obama, called Hillary Clinton a “worthless bitch,” and argued the U.S. would be better off if the South and slavery won the Civil War. After Trayvon Martin’s death, the singer, who wears confederate flag shirts, said the “wannabe gangsta” “got justice.”
“While he may sometimes say things or use language that Greg Abbott would not endorse or agree with, we appreciate the support of everyone who supports protecting our Constitution,” Abbott Communications Director Matt Hirsch said in a statement.
At the event, reporters asked Abbott how he felt about campaigning with a man who argued undocumented immigrants should be treated like “indentured servants.” Abbott ignored the remark, replying, “I can’t read everything.”
Long before Republicans launched sensitivity classes to teach candidates how not to alienate women, Nugent was a regular in Republican ranks, earning an invitation to the State of the Union and giving his coveted endorsement to Mitt Romney.