Updated 5:06 p.m. ET, 2/18/2014
(CNN) – Controversial 65-year-old rock star Ted Nugent is campaigning Tuesday with likely Texas GOP gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott, the state's current attorney general who makes no apologies for inviting Nugent on the trail with him.
Democrats were quick to point to Nugent's outlandish comments, with likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis calling Abbott's decision "repulsive."
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But a senior Abbott aide admitted their campaign is only bringing on the gun rights activist to help spur voter turnout among the base, as the state begins early voting for the upcoming March 4 GOP primary.
The aide said the campaign originally had 100 people commit to their event Tuesday morning at a Denton restaurant, but when they announced Nugent was coming, the number of expected attendees tripled.
"On a Tuesday mid-morning at a local restaurant in Denton, Texas, that's a lot of people," the campaign aide said.
Nugent is known for making controversial comments about Democrats and President Barack Obama in particular.
Just last month, he called the president a "subhuman mongrel" in an interview with Guns.com.
"I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel like the acorn community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America."
Nugent was interviewed in 2012 by the Secret Service after he said at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting that he would be either "dead or in jail by this time next year" if Obama is still in office.
The agency later cleared Nugent, saying the issue had been resolved and they were not anticipating further action.
But Abbott's campaign is brushing off Nugent's history of contentious comments.
"The controversy is what he said in the past. We are not endorsing Ted Nugent, he is supporting us," the aide said.
"It's easy to criticize some of the language he has used in the past," the aide continued. "He is protected under the Constitution, like you and I."
At one of the stops Tuesday, Nugent praised Abbott for being the "epitome" of what the country's Founding Fathers envisioned.
"We all love Greg," he said. "He has served We The People."
Nugent also took time to explain his love for the Lone Star State.
"I moved to Texas 12 years ago because this is special," he said. "There is no other Texas anymore. This is the last bastion of rugged individualism, of true independence."
Wendy Davis, the Democratic state senator who will likely face Abbott in the general election, said the attorney general's "embrace of Ted Nugent" is an "insult" to all Texans.
"I think the fact that Greg Abbott is embracing those values is repulsive. And that Texans should consider it and will consider it," she said in comments taped by CNN affiliate WFAA in Dallas-Ft. Worth.
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa also criticized Abbott's use of Nugent as a surrogate.
"Texans deserve better than a statewide office holder and candidate running for governor who welcomes Ted Nugent and his repugnant comments," he said in a statement.
While Nugent's comments may make headlines, he's still considered a superstar to some on the far right, especially for his staunch defense of gun rights. He was a guest of outspoken Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, at the State of the Union address last month, and he's campaigned for tea party-backed candidates in the past.
"There are two things that you have to do to win high public office in Texas, and that's know how to lead a prayer and know how to shoot a gun,” Christy Hoppe, Austin bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News, said on CNN's "Newsroom." “And Greg Abbott has done both, and he's underscoring his credentials there by inviting Ted Nugent.”
CNN Crossfire co-host Van Jones, a Democrat, called Nugent's comments "racist."
"Sub-human mongrel - that is language from the days of slavery, and I cannot for the life of myself understand why a leading Republican candidate would associate in any way with somebody saying stuff like this and a guy like this," he said on the show Tuesday.
Newt Gingrich, former Republican House speaker and also a co-host on Crossfire, called the uproar over Nugent's comments "selective media outrage," pointing to controversial comments made by Democrats that he suggested were largely ignored.
"I think there's a double standard here. What Ted Nugent said was stupid. I don't support it," he said on "The Situation Room."
"But I do think the level of selective outrage, particularly on the entertainment left, where they often day after day say much more vicious things about Republicans. It's just kind of funny to watch."
CNN's Ashley Killough and Gloria Borger contributed to this report.