Republicans helping Kanye West secure spot on 2020 ballot

Republican operatives are being accused of helping the rapper in his bid to become president for Trump's benefit

Kanye West
(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Is the Republican party trying to keep Kanye West on the ballot this November to skew votes away from Joe Biden?

According to reports, at least four senior members of the GOP have admitted to actively helping the rapper make the deadline to file as an independent candidate in Wisconsin on Tuesday.

Mark Jacoby heads Let The Voters Decide, a petitioning company that has been helping West secure signatures to run in three states: Ohio, West Virginia, and Arkansas.

Kanye West
Kanye West attends the Givenchy Menswear Fall/Winter 2014-2015 Show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 17, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

READ MORE: John Legend visits Florida to advocate for restoring voting rights for felons

Although he sent a statement to the New York Times stating that the organization was non-partisan, in 2008 he was arrested on charges of voter fraud while working for the Republican Party in California.

“Anyone who is qualified to stand for election has the right to run,” he maintained while refusing to comment on his ties with West.

Tuesday evening, Lane Ruhland, a top Republican lawyer and former general counsel for the Wisconsin state GOP, was filmed dropping off West’s nominating petitions with state regulators in Madison right before the 5 p.m. deadline.

READ MORE: Kanye West congratulates wife Kim Kardashian for becoming a billionaire

When asked if she’d been hired by West to make sure he could get on the ballot, Ruhland neither confirmed nor denied. But a local Republican Party official appeared to confirm Ruhland’s involvement in West’s campaign.

“It appears that Kanye West made a smart decision by hiring an experienced election attorney,” state GOP spokeswoman Alesha Guenther told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We welcome Kanye West and all other candidates who qualified for ballot access to the race.”

Kanye West Trump
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Monday, New York Magazine also identified two other GOP operatives who appeared to be pulling the strings behind the scenes of West’s campaign.

The first being One is Gregg Keller, a former executive director of the American Conservative Union, who has since been listed as a contact for West’s campaign in Arkansas. And the other being Chuck Wilton, from Vermont, who is listed as both a convention delegate for President Donald Trump and an elector with the West bid.

Read More: Trump floats November election delay – but he can’t do that

Wilton is particularly noteworthy given he could potentially cast an Electoral College vote for the rapper if he were to win the state. His wife Wendy, who happens to be a Trump appointee at the United States Department of Agriculture, reportedly hung up on staff from the New York Times when asked for a comment.

Kanye West
In a new interview with James Corden, Kanye West admits that he received a $68 million tax return. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

Democrats believe Republicans are running interference in a bid to help Trump win re-election in the fall.

“Thankfully the Trump team is showing their cards that the real force driving Kanye West to run is not people but Trump,” state Rep. David Bowen, a Democrat who represents Milwaukee, told CNN. “This is clearly a targeted effort by Republican operatives to cause confusion and problems for typically Democratic voters on Election Day.”

“It’s sad to see a popular music artist like Kanye,” he added, “be used as a pawn to trick his own people & fans to vote for a fake campaign.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

Loading the player...