(WASHINGTON) — Tom Tancredo is gunning for the Colorado governor’s mansion.
The conservative former congressman’s gubernatorial campaign is raffling off an AR-15 rifle. And they’ve chosen a controversial poster boy: Ted Nugent, the incendiary rocker who earlier this year called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel.”
Nugent, like Tancredo, is an arch defender of the Second Amendment. The “Cat Scratch Fever” star is also a National Rifle Association board member and campaigned on behalf of Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott earlier this year.
But his vitriol has landed Nugent — and the candidates he supports — in hot water. After the “mongrel” comment went viral, critics condemned Nugent as a racist and even chastised Abbott for aligning himself with the rocker. Nugent later apologized. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign faced similar criticism after Nugent invited the president to “suck on my machine gun” and declared he’d be either “dead or in jail” if voters chose Obama over Romney in 2012.
But the Tancredo campaign is embracing Nugent. His photo and a personal appeal for a donation appear alongside the gun raffle entry form.
“There’s a very good reason I’m supporting Tom Tancredo in his gubernatorial campaign,” Nugent says in the message. “Tom is relentless. As a congressman, he made waves in Washington by vehemently opposing…insane infringements to our sacred Second Amendment rights. Mark my words: we’ll keep our guns if Tom wins this race.”
As a member of Congress, Tancredo voted to reduce the firearm purchase waiting period from three days to one but supported legislation placing some restrictions on semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity ammunition clips. He has publicly denounced the gun control measures signed into law by incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is seeking a second term.
Tancredo’s fellow Republican challengers include Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, state Sen. Greg Brophy, former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, and former state Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp.
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John Newsome and Anne Woolsey, CNN