Kanye West’s presidential campaign is moving to get on the ballot in two new purple states, Minnesota and Virginia, after filing Friday in Iowa. The three states join Wisconsin, Ohio, and Colorado as competitive states where West has filed to be a presidential candidate. The rapper has been officially certified as a candidate in Colorado, but in Wisconsin, his filing is currently the subject of multiple challenges that include claims that his signatures were fraudulently obtained and that the rapper did not file to get on the ballot in time. West, whose wife, Kim Kardashian West, posted about him experiencing a bipolar episode in late July, will face issues in Iowa as well. The rapper, who registered to vote for the first time last month, did so as a Republican in his home of Wyoming. West’s registration as a Republican came five days after he announced his presidential campaign on Twitter.
The challenge that poses for the rapper is that, in his affidavit of candidacy, West said he was “not affiliated with any party.” Iowa Code requires a candidate to include “the political party with which the candidate is a registered voter.” There is a precedent from 2018 where a registered Democrat attempted to run as a Republican and his candidacy was thrown out as a result. In its ruling, the board that hears challenges said “critically Iowa Code does not ask for which political party the candidate intends to run. Rather the code requires the candidate to list on his or her nomination petition the political party with which he or she is registered. This is intended to give the eligible electors asked to sign the nomination petition true and accurate information to make an informed decision.”
Moving forward, Minnesota has been considered one of Donald Trump’s best opportunities to win a state that he lost in 2016, and the president has scheduled a campaign rally there on Monday to coincide with the first day of the Democratic National Convention. Hillary Clinton only narrowly won the North Star State by 1.5 percent in the last presidential election. To get on the ballot there, West only has to obtain 2,000 valid signatures by August 18.
His burden to get on the ballot in Virginia is higher. There, in a once safely Republican state that has swung heavily toward Democrats in recent years, West must file at least 2,500 valid signatures by August 21. However, he has the added burden of needing 200 signatures from each of the Old Dominion’s 11 congressional districts to qualify for the ballot. In addition, as first reported by the Tennesseean on Friday, West’s campaign is attempting to get on the ballot in Tennessee, which has a minimal threshold of 275 valid signatures for presidential hopefuls.
Questions have continued to be raised about the West campaign’s ties to Republican operatives. These have intensified after the revelation from the New York Times that West met last weekend with Jared Kushner.
Forbes reported that West and Kushner talk almost daily and the rapper told the publication, “I love Jared … that’s my boy.” Kushner insisted to reporters that they only talked about policy and not West’s presidential campaign.
As of Friday, West’s campaign is officially on the ballot in four states, Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Vermont — with another half dozen pending. It is mathematically impossible for him to earn the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election, however. So far, he has only held one formal campaign event last month in South Carolina, where he broke down talking about abortion and Harriet Tubman. Although he tweeted Friday evening to urge his two top rivals, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, to meet with the author of a book that he reportedly touted in his meeting with Kushner. Neither the Biden nor the Trump campaign immediately responded to requests about whether they would follow West’s suggestion.