National Rifle Association board member and conservative columnist Ted Nugent claimed on a Detroit radio station that he works closely with a number of prominent Republican officeholders, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Michigan Gov. John Engler, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
During an October 30 Google hangout hosted by 94.7 WCSX, Nugent was asked about his new role as co-chair of Republican Sid Miller's campaign for Texas Agriculture Commissioner. While answering the question, Nugent referenced his close relationship with other conservative politicians, and suggested he played a role in the 2011 showdown between Walker and labor unions. According to Nugent, he "worked close with Scott Walker's team in Wisconsin when he took it away from the hippies."
NUGENT: I'm contacted all the time, I work close with Ted Cruz who is a great patriot, a great statesman. I worked close with Scott Walker's team in Wisconsin when he took it away from the hippies and got rid of the [unintelligible] and got some freedom back in Wisconsin. I've worked with Governor Engler in the past. I've worked with different sheriffs and different attorney generals. I work closely with Greg Abbot and Governor Perry in Texas.
Despite his history of racially inflammatory rhetoric -- for example he recently endorsed racial profiling -- Nugent has served as a surrogate and done other work for Republican political campaigns. (He is also known for making offensive remarks about women, Muslims, immigrants, and LGBT individuals.)
After endorsing Mitt Romney and acting as his surrogate during the 2012 elections, Nugent infamously claimed that in one year he would be "dead or in jail" if Barack Obama was reelected. Nugent said that Romney solicited his endorsement, a report the Romney campaign denied after Nugent's outburst.
Nugent is also closely associated with Tea Party Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), who invited gun rights absolutist Nugent to the 2013 State of the Union address, which featured a number of victims of gun violence. After Nugent's presence at the address was criticized by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) -- who was paralyzed in a gun accident as a teenager and had urged other members of Congress to invite those touched by gun violence to attend the event -- Nugent said that Langevin "probably has shit for brains." Nugent later said that his presence at Obama's speech was meant to counter "pawns" and "props" of "the president's anti-gun agenda."
In 2007, Nugent created controversy in Texas when he performed at Gov. Perry's inaugural ball while wearing a Confederate flag shirt. A Perry spokesperson defended his choice of attire saying, "If you're going to defend freedom of expression, then you're going to have to defend all freedom of expression." Nugent has criticized opponents of the display of the Confederate flag, stating, "I am going to wear it forever." Press reports alleged that Nugent also insulted non-English speakers while performing at the ball, a charge that Nugent denied.