Kanye West files for presidential ballot in Oklahoma amid uncertainty
Rapper Kanye West has qualified to appear on the Oklahoma presidential ballot, the first state in which he met the requirements before the filing deadline, amid confusion and uncertainty around whether he is actually running for the Oval Office.
West’s representative sent in the necessary paperwork and paid the $35,000 filing fee on Wednesday, the state’s deadline to appear on the Nov. 3 presidential ballot, Oklahoma Board of Elections spokeswoman Misha Mohr told The Associated Press.
The news service reported that West would appear with two other independent presidential candidates — concert pianist Jade Simmons and cryptocurrency entrepreneur Brock Pierce — on the state’s ballot.
The rapper’s late entry into the race means that he has already missed the deadlines to appear on the ballots in half a dozen states.
News of the filing came shortly after Steve Kramer, an adviser who said he was hired to help West get on ballots by gathering signatures in two key states, said West was dropping his 2020 race.
“He’s out,” Kramer told New York magazine’s The Intelligencer.
However, TMZ reported that West took his first official step toward his White House bid by filing with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Wednesday.
TMZ reported that West filed the Statement of Organization form, which declared that the Kanye 2020 committee will serve as the “Principal Campaign Committee,” with West as its candidate.
However, West has reportedly not filed the second necessary form, a Statement of Candidacy. The FEC requires that candidates show that they’ve raised or spent more than $5,000 in campaign activity before being considered a candidate under federal campaign finance law.
West previously said that he would run under a new party he is forming called The Birthday Party.
He tweeted on July 4 that he was running for president, apparently this year.
“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States!” he wrote.
We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States ! #2020VISION
— ye (@kanyewest) July 5, 2020
In a subsequent interview with Forbes, West — once a staunch supporter of President Trump’s — said he was “taking the red hat off,” referencing the president’s signature “Make America Great Again” hat that West has publicly worn in the past.
“It looks like one big mess to me,” West, 43, continued. “One of the main reasons I wore the red hat as a protest to the segregation of votes in the Black community. … Also, other than the fact that I like Trump hotels and the saxophones in the lobby.”
West, who has said that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, told Forbes that he would run as an anti-abortion and anti-vaccine candidate, citing his religious beliefs.
West said he has never voted in his life, but if he becomes president, he plans to run the White House in the image of Wakanda, the secret fictional African country in “Black Panther.”
“Let’s see if the appointing is at 2020 or if it’s 2024—because God appoints the president. If I win in 2020 then it was God’s appointment. If I win in 2024 then that was God’s appointment,” West told Forbes.
The rapper, married to reality television star Kim Kardashian West, received 2 percent of the vote in a national presidential poll conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies after his announcement.