The soft-voiced singer of such hits as “Always On My Mind” and “Whiskey River” not only endorsed Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Texas Democrat, in his November challenge to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, but also announced that he’d headline a rally for him.
“My wife Annie and I have met and spoken with Beto and we share his concern for the direction things are headed,” Mr. Nelson said. “Beto embodies what is special about Texas, an energy and an integrity that is completely genuine.”
At the Facebook page where Mr. Nelson made the announcement, the negative reactions came thick and fast.
“If thats true im done after 45 years with the Red Headed Stranger by Willie, that smoke has finally got you!!” wrote Facebook user Ralph Brown.
Added David R. Williams: “Goodbye Willie, I don’t support socialist commies! You’re not going to advertise on my FB page either. Like we say in Texas, Now Git!”
Country-music fan Dakota Boll solicited on Twitter for “someone [to] buy my Willie Nelson ticket for Friday, November 16. I am no longer willing to watch that hippie guitarist who supports that damn socialist running for Senate.”
The Sept. 29 rally in Austin will be the first time the 85-year-old country-music legend has headlined a politician’s rally. Admission to the rally is free but an RSVP from the O’Rourke campaign is required.
Although the country-music fan base is more conservative than fans of other music genres, Mr. Nelson has long been known as a supporter of liberal causes with a hippie-like public persona. He also invited Mr. O’Rourke to jam with him onstage at his annual July 4 picnic this year.
“Only now you find out he’s a liberal? You must have focused hard on your nose, to miss the world for 45 years,” Nate White wrote on Facebook to a critic of Mr. Nelson.
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