Wisconsin Republicans Are Helping Kanye West To Run For President

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Written by Ann Brown
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Several Wisconsin Republicans and operatives are helping billionaire entrepreneur Kanye West in his run for president as an independent. Photo: Kanye West smiles as he listens to a question from a reporter during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House with President Donald Trump, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump supporter, hip-hop artist and billionaire entrepreneur Kanye West is getting some help from Wisconsin Republicans in his bid to get on the 2020 ballot. While many seem not to be taking West’s run for president seriously, Republicans are hoping that he will lure away a significant number of Biden voters and give Trump a much-needed boost.

West is looking to get on the ballot in Wisconsin, Ohio, Arkansas, and West Virginia.

“One Republican source says the goal is for West to get 107,000 votes, the same as Libertarian Gary Johnson did in 2016,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. 

At least four people trying to get West’s name on the ballots in several states have GOP connections, The New York Times reported. West would be listed on the ballot as an independent candidate representing the Birthday Party.

One such Republican operative is Mark Jacoby, an executive at a company called Let the Voters Decide, which has been collecting signatures for the West campaign in three states. Jacoby has a shady past. He was arrested on voter fraud charges in 2008 while doing work for the California Republican Party. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

Another operative is strategist Gregg Keller. The former executive director of the American Conservative Union, he is listed as a contact for the campaign in Arkansas. Trump considered Keller for the role of campaign manager in 2015 , according to a former campaign official, but the slot was filled by Corey Lewandowski.

Then there is Chuck Wilton, who is listed as a convention delegate for Trump from Vermont and as an elector with the West campaign who could potentially cast an electoral college vote for West. Wilton and his wife, Wendy, a Trump appointee at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, have been political supporters of the president. 

Republican elections lawyer Lane Ruhland also seems to be rallying for West. Ruhland was seen dropping off the signatures that would qualify West for his presidential bid in Wisconsin. Ruhland has also directly worked for Trump. She recently represented the Trump campaign in its lawsuit to force Priorities USA, a Democratic super-PAC, to pull an anti-Trump ad off the airwaves, Vice reported.

“It appears that the Kanye West campaign made a smart decision by hiring an experienced election attorney,” said Alesha Guenther, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin state Republican Party. “We welcome Kanye West and all other candidates who qualified for ballot access to the race.”

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West made his first presidential campaign appearance on July 19 in Charleston, S.C. During his rally, he broke down and cried about the ills of abortion and erroneously claimed that Harriet Tubman never helped slaves escape captivity. Not long after his bizarre performance and a series of erratic tweets, his wife, Kim Kardashian West, issued a statement about West’s mental health issues (he has been diagnosed as bipolar) and pleaded for understanding. 

Some thought that would be the end of his run for office, but it seems West, who announced his candidacy on July 4, has doubled down on his bid — now with a little help from his Republican friends.

Coincidentally or not, West has been holed up on his Wyoming ranch working on his next album.