Rocking the House: New Congressional Candidates Reveal Their Theme Songs, From Tom Petty to Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre, Chance The Rapper & Tom Petty
Getty Images; Design by Jessica Xie

Dr. Dre, Chance The Rapper & Tom Petty

Bill Clinton and Fleetwood Mac; John McCain and ABBA; Barack Obama and Stevie Wonder -- for decades, politicians have aligned their campaigns with on-message artists. As House races heat up ahead of November’s midterm elections, these new candidates, who have all won their state primaries, share the theme songs powering their fights.

Colin Allred, D-Texas 32

“‘Blessings’ by Chance the Rapper. I was raised by a single mom who taught me to count my blessings and be grateful for opportunities. That has stayed with me throughout my career, from playing football in college and the NFL to becoming a civil rights attorney and eventually running for Congress [in the district] where I was raised.”

Young Kim, R-Calif. 39

“‘I Won’t Back Down’ by Tom Petty. I am running to be the representative of the people of the 39th Congressional District -- not of party bosses or Washington, D.C., interests. I will stand up to partisan interests, work across party lines and never back down from fighting for the diverse communities I represent.”

Jesse Colvin, D-Md. 1

“‘Still D.R.E.’ by Dr. Dre. Flash back to the movie Training Day, when Denzel Washington tells Ethan Hawke’s character, ‘You’re in the office, baby.’ On the campaign trail, we’re on the road so much that my truck is our office. And I think my campaign manager was told once in his life that he looked like Denzel.” 

Ammar Campa-Najjar, D-Calif. 50

"Bon Jovi's 'We Weren't Born To Follow' really resonates with my platform and stances for the working and middle class.

As the son of a working class mother who raised me with help from family and neighbors -- from my first job as a church janitor to serving in the White House, advocating for small businesses and fighting for American workers -- I've devoted my life to service, Americans and the working class, no matter their background. As the first Latino-Arab American running for congress, it will be an honor to serve my constituents. Come victory night, expect this to be blaring from the loud speakers as CA-50 celebrates a new sensible congressman -- someone who understands them, their frustrations and what improvements can be made to make their lives better."

Lauren Baer, D-Fla. 2

"I’ve been listening to 'Bigger' by Sugarland a lot lately -- it speaks to our campaign so much because it captures the moment our country is in, a feeling that times are challenging for a lot of people, that for many folks what they’re seeing out of Washington is dispiriting and discouraging, but at the same time it’s incredibly hopeful. The chorus is 'We were born for better days/we’re gonna be bigger,' and for me that’s what this campaign is all about. It’s about saying we don’t have to settle for the status quo. I actually met Jennifer Nettles in 2000 -- I was working in Guatemala, and she and her band came to help build a school in a little indigenous community where I was doing research for my undergrad thesis. She was inspiring then and she’s inspiring now. She captures a moment in female empowerment and makes me feel better about the direction our country is going."

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 15 issue of Billboard.


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