US election: Kanye West files for first state ballot in Oklahoma

The filing crushes rumours the rapper and one-time Donald Trump fan was going to drop out of the race

Rap superstar Kanye West has qualified to appear on Oklahoma’s presidential ballot, the first state where he met the requirements before the filing deadline.

A representative for West filed the necessary paperwork and paid the $35,000 filing Wednesday afternoon, which was the deadline for a spot on the state’s Nov. 3 presidential ballot, said Oklahoma Board of Elections spokeswoman Misha Mohr.

He was one of three independent presidential candidates to pay the filing fee prior to the deadline, she added. The others were concert pianist Jade Simmons and cryptocurrency entrepreneur Brock Pierce.

The billionaire hitmaker and fashion mogul announced he would run for president on July 4.

The filing may put to bed rumours that Mr West had decided to drop out of the race, after voter registration expert Steve Kramer - who had been hired to assist Mr West on getting on to the ballot paper in Florida and South Carolina – told Intelligencer on Tuesday: “he’s out.”

After expressing support for current president Donald Trump in recent years, Mr West broke the alliance to begin his own presidential campaign.

He first mooted his presidential ambitions in 2015, but did not act. Mr West told Forbes magazine he had never before voted in an election and had no campaign apparatus of any kind, but “like anything I’ve ever done in my life, I’m doing (this) to win.”

Last week, he released a video showing the process for registering to vote in Wyoming and chatting to an official about rules in different states.

In what Forbes called “four rambling hours of interviews,” Mr West, who says he’s been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, often referred to himself in the third person and claimed he was “one of the most powerful humans” although acknowledged there were “a lot of alien level superpowers.”

He said if he won the presidency, he would model his White House on the fictional land in “Black Panther,” saying “Let’s get back to Wakanda.”

Mr West has already missed the deadline to qualify for the November 3 ballot in several states, including big hitters like New York and Texas, meaning securing the presidency will be an uphill battle.

The most recent candidate to put significant effort into launching a presidential campaign a few months before the election was Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative who announced his bid in August 2016. Mr McMullin only appeared on the ballot in 11 states, receiving 0.53 per cent of the popular vote.

"There's a way to run as an outsider but it's hard and expensive, and I think West, or anyone else, has missed their window of opportunity to have a meaningful impact," said Nathan Gonzales, editor of Inside Elections, which provides non-partisan analysis of campaigns.

Updated: July 16, 2020 09:03 PM


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