According to a report from Intelligencer citing multiple campaign professionals, the hip-hop mogul took early steps last week toward getting his name on the ballot in Florida and other states as a third-party candidate running against Joe Biden and Donald Trump, but a West ticket seems increasingly unlikely.
An anonymous political operative had been approached about going to Florida on West’s behalf to gather the signatures needed to make the ballot in the state by the July 15 deadline. In order to qualify for the ballot in Florida, the rapper would need to get 132,781 voters to sign the petition in less than a week.
Steve Kramer, a get-out-the-vote specialist who runs a firm that helps candidates with their campaigns, said he was hired to help West get on the ballot in Florida and South Carolina and was in the process of gathering signatures. He said that West’s team was “working over weekend there, formalizing the FEC and other things that they’ve got to do when you have a lot of corporate lawyers involved.”
Both paid workers and volunteers were in Florida collecting signatures. “We had overwhelming support to get him on the ballot,” said Kramer. “Whether anybody is going to vote for him or not is up to them.”
When contacted by Intelligencer on July 9, West’s team was unresponsive. Kramer later told the site that Kanye was bowing out of the race. “He’s out,” he said. “I’ll let you know what I know once I get all our stuff canceled. We had over 180 people out there today.”
About an hour after their exchange, West shared a video on Twitter of himself registering to vote for the first time in Cody, Wyoming.
The deadline to get on the ballot has passed in other states including Indiana, New York, Texas, and Nevada. While a 2020 run may be out of the question, Kanye could certainly run for president in 2024, which was his original plan.
Kramer said the staff he hired was disappointed to be out of a job, but also because they were excited about the prospects of a West presidency.
“I have nothing good or bad to say about Kanye. Everyone has their personal decision about why they make decisions,” said Kramer. “Running for president has to be one of the hardest things for someone to actually contemplate at that level.”