The controversy surrounding A&E’s ‘Duck Dynasty’ hasn’t affected at least one political fundraiser the Robertson family has in its schedule.
Idaho state Rep. Lawrence Denney is running for Idaho secretary of state, and on March 29 he is holding a fundraiser called “Happy Happy Happy: An Evening with A&E’s Duck Dynasty.” The event is public, and tickets range from $27 to $47 for various levels of seating in the arena. VIP tickets cost $500.
The stars of Duck Dynasty, the Robertson family, were thrust even further into the spotlight last week after A&E first suspended and then reversed the suspension of the family’s patriarch, Phil Robertson, for criticizing homosexuals in an interview with GQ Magazine. The suspension became somewhat politicized, as conservative voices like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, and Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz defended Robertson.
Still, Denney told The Daily Caller, the controversy won’t affect his event one bit.
“You know, the ticket sales did go up a little bit, but that’s about it,” Denney, a Republican, said Monday, adding that he has “not really” gotten any feedback one way or the other about the event.
“I really don’t think there’s a whole lot of difference,” he said.
Denney said they still planned to go ahead with the fundraiser. “We made up our mind that as long as they were willing we were going to continue and hold the event,” he said.
During the suspension last week, he issued a statement of support for Robertson.
“We believe Phil Robertson has every right to express his Christian values when asked,” he said. “Unfortunately, as all too often happens in both the national and Idaho media, Mr. Robertson’s comments have been distorted and twisted to fit the agenda of certain interest groups and the media itself. Our family proudly stands in support of the Robertson family in its’ modeling and expression of our Christian family values and heritage. We expressed that support when we spoke to the Robertson family yesterday.”
As for whether the Robertson’s political clout might have increased in the course of the suspension, Denney said he wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know whether it’s political clout or not,” he said. “I think they’re still as popular as they ever were.”
That, in fact, is why Denney invited them in the first place: their ability to draw a crowd. He said he invited the cast “simply because of how popular they are and their growing capacity: the number of people they can get to an event.” Denney does not expect the recent brouhaha to come up, he said, mainly because it is still three months away.
The Idaho secretary of state hopeful said he does not regularly tune in to Duck Dynasty.
“You know, we really don’t watch TV, I don’t have much time,” he said, but added that “I have watched several episodes, and I really enjoy it.”
It is not the first time that the Robertson family has waded into politics. Earlier this year, Willie Robertson, Phil’s son, was being courted to run for Senate in Louisiana; and the family’s endorsement helped propel political newcomer Vance McAllister to a seat in the U.S. Congress.
But politics or not, Denney said: “We’re certainly excited to have them coming to Idaho.”