Texas Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has come under fire from Democrats and other left-leaning groups in the state for campaigning with aging rocker and conservative firebrand Ted Nugent.
“Just last month, Ted Nugent called President Barack Obama a ‘subhuman mongrel’ and ‘gangster.’ He spews hate against our first African-American President and in return, Attorney General Greg Abbott welcomes him to the campaign trail. Is this how Abbott celebrates Black History Month?” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement. “Texans deserve better than a statewide office holder and candidate running for governor who welcomes Ted Nugent and his repugnant comments. I can’t help but recall the old saying, tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
Nugent also said in 2012 he expected to end up “dead or in jail” if Obama were reelected.
Other groups have hit Abbott for Nugent’s admission of relationships with underage women. Abbott has spent time on the campaign trail touting his cyber crimes unit, which has targeted child predators.
“Ted Nugent disrespects a large number of Texans. It is embarrassing that Greg Abbott thinks it is appropriate to appear with Ted Nugent,” Davis’s campaign spokesman Bo Delp said, according to the Houston Chronicle.
When questioned about the campaign stops, Abbott’s spokesman praised Nugent’s political positions, but noted his candidate did not “endorse or agree with” his rhetoric.
“Ted Nugent is a forceful advocate for individual liberty and constitutional rights – especially the 2nd Amendment rights cherished by Texans,” Abbott campaign spokesman Michael Hirsch told the Los Angeles Times. “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 is not the first Texas Republican to embrace the controversial figure. U.S. Senate hopeful Rep. Steve Stockman brought Nugent as his guest at the president’s State of the Union address in 2013, and Mitt Romney touted his endorsement in 2012.