Kanye West‘s presidential bid is raising even more questions as the enigmatic rapper indicated twice in an interview this week that he realizes his presence on ballots could siphon votes away from Democrat Joe Biden — though moments later declared he’s running to “win.”
Adding more intrigue to his abruptly announced independent run is that known Republican operatives have been working to get West on the ballot in several states — including the battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Ohio — fueling speculation of an effort for him to play spoiler with Biden and assist President Trump in winning a second term.
A GOP operative who has worked for the Republican Party and Trump, Lane Ruhland, was the person who dropped off the signatures in the critical swing state of Wisconsin on Tuesday to get West on the ballot, Vice reported.
At the same time, he’s used the political profile to highlight issues like his anti-abortion views.
West admitted in an interview with Forbes published Thursday that his candidacy could take away votes from Biden and he expressed comfort with the fact that he could damage the Democrat’s White House bid: “I’m not denying it,” West told the Forbes reporter.
Later he tweeted that: “THE GOAL IS TO WIN.”
Friday will be a telling day for West.
It is the deadline for West to qualify to be on the ballot in Connecticut, Washington and California. The Golden State’s 55 electoral votes are mathematically critical for the rapper to have any shot at securing the presidency.
So far West hasn’t gotten on the ballot in enough states to even theoretically amass the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House — but he’s making headway on the filings.
West has met the filing deadline in nine states: Oklahoma, Ilinois, Missouri, Arkansas, West Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, Ohio and Colorado.
The billionaire entertainer and fashion entrepreneur, however, has missed the cutoff in Michigan, South Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Kansas, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Nevada and Pennsylvania.
In his recent filing to get on the ballot in Colorado, West lists his Cody, Wyo. ranch as his home residence. He also names fellow Cody resident Michelle Tidball, a 57-year-old spiritual coach, as his vice presidential pick.
Heather Krubeck, Tidball’s daughter, said she’s never met West, but she’s supportive of her mom’s vice-presidential run.
“I think it’s awesome, if anyone can do that job well it’s my mom,” Krubeck said in an email to Fox News. “She has the drive and skills to help run a country. I’ve never met Kanye but he does not fold on many of the issues I think are important, so who knows but they both could be the change this country needs.”
West and Tidball have not responded to interview requests.
West was once a MAGA-hat wearing Trump supporter who visited the White House and declared, “Trump is on his hero’s journey right now.” His wife, Kim Kardashian West, also spent time at the White House working with the Trump administration on criminal justice reform. West previously expressed his presidential ambitions, but “only after 2024,” Yeezy said during his epic 2018 White House meeting.
Even running as an independent, West hasn’t been really critical of Trump and said he’s still working with the Trump administration on designing a school and a post-COVID-19 curriculum, he told Forbes.
His campaign so far has highlighted his Christain faith and anti-abortion stances and accused Planned Parenthood of doing the “devil’s work.” His erratic behavior since his July 4 Twitter launch prompted wife, Kim, to open up about her husband’s mental health battle.
“As many of you know, Kanye has bi-polar disorder. Anyone who has this or has a loved one in their life who does, knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand,” Kardashian said, in urging compassion for her husband.
Trump has made positive comments about West, but denied helping his presidential bid.
“I like Kanye very much,” Trump said Wednesday. “No, I have nothing to do with him getting on the ballot … I’m not involved.”
Cooper Teboe, a California-based Democratic strategist, claimed West’s candidacy is the work of Trump backers trying to sink Biden, and he predicted the effort will fail.
“Trump is not to be underestimated,” Teboe told Fox News. “… This campaign is a tactic by GOP operatives, for GOP operatives, to throw the election towards Trump.”
Teboe said those working to help West are doing a disservice to democracy.
In Colorado, a top GOP strategist working to get West on the ballot all but admitted it was a last-ditch effort to make mischief for the Democrats.
“I get how random it is! But I also know that you’re in on the joke,” Rachel George wrote in an email to a fellow Republican operative to solicit signatures for West, as reported by Vice,
Republicans are also working on behalf of West in Arkansas and Vermont, New York Magazine reports.
West’s nascent campaign hired a company, Let the Voters Decide, to collect signatures to make the ballot in West Virginia, Arkansas and the big battleground state of Ohio, TMZ found. Mark Jacoby, the executive at the company, previously worked for the California Republican Party and was arrested in 2008 on voter fraud charges. Jacob ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, the New York Times reported.
One national presidential poll conducted on July 9 found West getting 2 percent support.
Fox News’ Andrew Craft and Bryan Murphy contributed to this report.