A handful of people once active in Republican circles are involved in efforts to get rapper Kanye West on the 2020 presidential ballot.
A company called Let the Voters Decide has been collecting signatures for West’s campaign in three states, the New York Times reported Tuesday, identifying GOP operative Mark Jacoby as an executive at the company.
Jacoby was arrested on voter fraud charges in 2008 while he was working for the California Republican Party. He has described his company as one that works for all political parties and said he couldn’t comment on any current clients of the business when asked about West.
Gregg Keller, former executive director of the American Conservative Union, is also listed as a contact for West’s campaign in Arkansas. Keller was under consideration to be President Trump’s campaign manager in 2015 and did not comment on whether he is involved with West’s campaign.
Chuck Wilton, a convention delegate for Trump, is also linked to the West campaign. Wilton and his wife are supporters of the president, and when asked about their ties to West, his wife apparently hung up on a New York Times reporter.
Vice News also reported Tuesday that Lane Ruhland, a GOP election lawyer and a former legal counsel for the state Republican Party, dropped off signatures for West to appear on the ballot in Wisconsin earlier in the day.
“I’m going to leave any comment about the petitions, the papers, and what’s going on to the campaign itself,” she told the outlet when asked if she was working for the rapper’s campaign. “I appreciate your reaching out, but I’ll let them comment.”
It is unclear if there is any financial relationship between West’s campaign and the operatives.
When asked about his relationship with the rapper, a person close to the president’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner denied to the New York Times that he is involved in any effort to divert votes away from presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Kushner has worked with West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, on criminal justice reform in the past.
West has additionally filed petitions to appear on ballots in Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and New Jersey but withdrew his petition for the last state on Tuesday. He has already missed several critical early filing dates, and recent petitions have raised questions after showing strikingly similar pen strokes on rows of petition signatures.
In his Arkansas filing on Monday, West reportedly listed “biblical life coach” Michelle Tidball as his running mate.
The entertainer was once a vocal supporter of Trump. He said if Trump weren’t on the ballot as a Republican, he would run as a candidate for the party. Instead, he is running as an independent candidate representing the Birthday Party.