Rapper Kanye West appeared to confirm that his 2020 presidential campaign is meant to take possible votes from former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee. West's campaign has come under increased scrutiny this week after reports found political operatives affiliated with the Republican Party and President Donald Trump have been behind efforts to get West on more state ballots. The attempt to get West on Ohio's ballot includes a list of 18 people who would vote for him in the Electoral College, and six listed the same address.
In an interview with Forbes conducted via text messages, West said he was "walking" for president, "walking... to win." Forbes told West he will not be on enough state ballots to earn 270 electoral votes, the number needed to win, and that a write-in campaign would be almost impossible, West said he would not "argue" with the magazine, adding, "Jesus is King." Forbes also told West that some of the questionable efforts to get him on the ballots did not seem like a "Kanye West Production." West then called his campaign a "God production."
West refused to clearly answer questions about his efforts to get on the ballots or if he is working with Republican officials. He did make it clear he still has a line to the White House, claiming he was "designing a school within the next month" and was meeting with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on "the post-COVID curriculum." DeVos' office did not respond to a request to comment.
Earlier this week, CNN, The New York Times, New York Magazine and Vice published reports on the Republican-led effort to get West on state ballots. In Wisconsin, one of the most important battleground states in the 2020 election, Lane Ruhland dropped off the signatures to get West on the ballot there. Ruhland is a GOP election lawyer, once served as the legal counsel for the Wisconsin Republican Party and just recently represented Trump's campaign in a lawsuit to make a Democratic Super-PAC pull anti-Trump ads, reports Vice. In fact, Ruhland was in court on the cast last week. Ruhland hung up when she was asked to comment on her connection to West's campaign.
Mark Jacoby, who works for the company Let Voters Decide, is another questionable operative collecting signatures in Ohio, Arkansas, and West Virginia. As the Times points out, Jacoby was arrested for voter fraud in 2008 and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. He told the Times his company is nonpartisan. "We do not comment on any current clients, but like all Americans, anyone who is qualified to stand for election has the right to run," he said.
Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that West's campaign submitted over 14,800 signatures to get on the Ohio ballot. In one document, he listed 18 people who would vote for him in the Electoral College if he won Ohio's popular vote. Sixteen of the 18 electors live in Cuyahoga County, including six who listed the same Cleveland address and four who listed the same address in Lakewood.
West announced his candidacy on July 4 and told Forbes his political party is called the Birthday Party. His wife, reality star Kim Kardashian, recently opened up about West's struggle with bipolar disorder after his controversial campaign stop in South Carolina and his troubling tweets. Sources recently told TMZ the two are trying to save their relationship.