Following rapper Kanye West’s announcement on social media earlier this month that he would be running for president, much speculation ensued regarding whether he was serious and, if so, what effect it could have on the 2020 election.
While many critics dismissed the move as a mere publicity stunt, one signal of West’s seriousness came when his campaign filed for and gained a spot on the Oklahoma ballot, as the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
West begins the process
The Oklahoma Board of Elections confirmed that a representative paid the $35,000 filing fee on West’s behalf and submitted the requisite paperwork to become one of three independent candidates listed on the state’s ballots in November.
That news comes amid mixed reports about West’s announcement, particularly since he had already missed the deadline to file in a number of other states. It remains unclear whether he has met the requirements to file in the states for which the deadline has not yet passed.
New York magazine’s Intelligencer reported on Thursday that West had hired a number of campaign staffers tasked with undertaking efforts to meet filing deadlines in those remaining states.
One of those individuals, however, told the outlet that West was “out” of the race. Steve Kramer noted that those who had been hired by the campaign and volunteers were “disappointed” that the prospective White House bid would not materialize.
On Wednesday, TMZ reported that he had formally filed a “Statement of Organization” with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), officially establishing his Kanye 2020 campaign committee.
Its possible impact
A major step in the FEC process has not been completed, though. In order to become an official candidate for president and trigger applicable campaign finance laws, he will need to file a formal “Statement of Candidacy.”
As for how West might fare if the campaign does get off the ground, The Hill cited results from the first major poll that included him as an option.
Redfield & Wilton Strategies found that he drew just 2% support among respondents — compared to 48% for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and 39% for President Donald Trump.
Of course, Trump’s 2016 candidacy proved just how unreliable polling results can be.
It remains to be seen how a West campaign could shake up an already unusual election cycle, but the latest updates indicate that he is, in fact, serious about giving it a shot.