Republicans with ties to Trump are helping to bring Kanye West on the general election ballot

As of Tuesday, the West’s attempts to get its name on the ballot have focused only on states that dominate the presidential elections of either Republicans or Democrats. But West’s expected addition to Ballot in Wisconsin means the rapper will be an option for voters in a battlefield that is the key to winning for both Trump and Biden in November.

“I like Kanye very much,” Trump said at the White House on Wednesday evening. “I have nothing to do with being on the ballot. I am not involved in this.”

Democrats in Wisconsin and beyond called it a drastic attempt to appeal to young black voters who may be unpublished about the Biden campaign. In any decline for Biden among young black voters, a group Trump campaign has sought to target in a race against the former vice-president may affect results in traditionally narrow-margin states like Wisconsin.

“Thankfully the Trump team is showing their cards that the real force driving Kanye West is not the people but Trump” Rep. David Bowen, a Democrat who represents Milwaukee, told CNN. “This is clearly a targeted attempt by Republican operatives to create confusion and problems for Democratic voters generally on Election Day.”

“It’s sad to see a popular music artist like Kanya,” he said, used as a pawn to vote for his people and fans for a mock campaign. “

Those involved with West’s campaign spent much of Tuesday gathering enough signatures to get the ballot in Wisconsin. And the effort seems to be a success, as Republican attorney Len Ruhland, a longtime associate with the state party and the Trump campaign, dropped the state’s election board signatures almost by the deadline. West’s signatures still need to be verified by the electorate.
Ruheld has worked for Republicans for years and is listed as one of the lawyers representing the Trump campaign in a lawsuit against a local Wisconsin television station over an anti-Trump advertisement broadcast from Democratic Super PAC Priorities USA.

The Wisconsin Republican Party in a statement to CNN on Wednesday made West happy for Ballot and Ruheld’s involvement.

“It appears that the Kanye West campaign made a smart decision by hiring a veteran election attorney,” party spokesperson Alesha Guenther said. “We welcome Kanye West and all other candidates who qualified for the ballot for the race, and look forward to giving President Trump 10 electoral votes from Wisconsin.”

Ruhanland did not respond to CNN’s request for comment. But Wisconsin lawyers are not the only Republican operatives to have helped Westland land on the state ballot.

Greg Keller, a former executive director of the American Conservative Union and a longtime Republican operative, is listed as a campaign liaison in Arkansas. And Chuck Wilton, a Vermont Republican who is listed as a possible electorate for Trump, is also listed as a possible elector for the West. New York Magazine first reported Keller and Wilton’s relationship to West.
Wilson’s wife, Wendy, is also listed as a potential Republican elector from Vermont and a Trump appointee for the United States Department of Agriculture.

Neither Keller nor Wilton responded to CNN’s request for comment.

Despite ties to the president who helped the West, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Muerto denied any knowledge of West’s efforts in a statement to CNN on Wednesday.

“There is no struggle to whisper but we have no idea what Kanye West is doing or who is doing it for him,” Mavra said.

After years of support for Trump, West announced last month that he would run for president, leading Republicans – including the president himself – to speculate that West’s name on the ballot would draw votes from Biden, especially black voters in between.

Trump tweeted, “It shouldn’t be hard.” “Corruption that has done nothing good for black people!”

West, until announcing his own presidential bid, was close to Trump and has made several bizarre appearances with the president. He grew closer to Trump after working on criminal justice reform with the president and top White House officials, including his wife, Kim Kardashian West, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

West’s first campaign event, a rally last month in South Carolina, was an unusual case that looked nothing like a traditional campaign. The rapper – who looked like a protective vest – made inaccurate remarks about Harriet Tubman and at one point stopped crying over the North Charleston incident. The presence gave rise to many concerns about his well-being. And a few days later his wife made public statements acknowledging West’s bipolar diagnosis and with compassion and sympathy.

“Those who are close to Kanya know his heart and understand his words that some time does not align with his intentions,” she wrote.

Trump’s campaign strategy with black voters is twofold: The courts suppress support for young black men, especially in cities like Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s largest city, and Biden.

Some Republicans believe that Biden may get votes from places like Wisconsin except in the West. Trump led the state by less than 23,000 voters, with a drastic drop in voting among black voters from the 2012 election of President Barack Obama in 2016.

Polls show Biden enjoys a massive lead with black voters – an analysis of CNN’s Harry Enten’s 10 surveys in July found that Biden ranged from 83% to 8%, 75-point among black voters. Is ahead of the difference. While this is a major edge for Biden, who relied too heavily on black voters to win the Democratic primaries in 2020, it is a slight improvement for Trump, who ranked Clinton among black voters in pre-2016 election voting 79 Was left behind by numbers.

But Biden’s support among black adults is not unbroken and is far stronger with older black adults. A recent Washington Post poll found that 87% of black seniors said the former vice president is “sympathetic to the problems of black people in America”, while the figure falls to 66% with adults under 40. .

To cut Biden’s support with black voters, Trump’s campaign and the Wisconsin Republican Party opened a field office at the corner of North Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. A quote from the slain civil rights leader is prominently displayed in the window, with a red Trump campaign sign, reading, “Hate cannot hate. Only love can do it.”

Democrats were unsure of West’s efforts on Wednesday, with some dismissing the effort as laughter and others arguing over the Wisconsin Republican Party and Trump’s ties, saying the longer the party would run in the election, the one Unbreakable signal.

The Biden campaign and the Wisconsin Democratic Party declined to comment when asked about West on Wednesday. CNN reached out to West’s campaign and did not hear back.

Mandela BarnesThe state’s lieutenant governor of Wisconsin tweeted Wednesday that West’s efforts “look as big as the circus.”

“A dark twisted fantasy, if you will. A distraction,” Barnes wrote. “This is what frustration looks like.”

And Cavalier Johnson, president of the Common Council in Milwaukee, tweeted on Wednesday that West Inclusion was “a plan to vote for blacks in Wisconsin to vote from @JanyBest to @JoeBiden.”

Johnson wrote of the rapper’s bipolar disorder, writing, “He has decided to take advantage of a mental health disorder for a greater follower and political gain.” “It’s not embarrassing, pathetic, and surprising. The experiment will only inspire African Americans and allies in Milwaukee and across the state to vote for @JoeBiden and end Donald Trump’s executive time in the White House.”

To date, West is on the ballot in Oklahoma, Illinois and Vermont. In Missouri, West Virginia, Arkansas and now Wisconsin, the rapper has made the ballot but the signatures he has submitted have not been verified.

West’s campaign also presented signatures on Wednesday to try to get on the ballot in Colorado and Ohio, the latter being the key battleground for both the Biden and Trump campaigns.

Ohio Secretary of State’s press secretary Maggie Shehan said Wednesday that a representative for the West Campaign filed to appear on the ballot in Ohio, where 5,000 signatures are required. West will not automatically appear on the ballot, as his signatures have to be verified by the Secretary of State.

And in Colorado, Betsy Hart, Director of Communications for the Secretary of State, told CNN that “Mr. West’s campaign filed paperwork with a $ 1000 filing fee.”

“Our office will still need to review whether Colorado voters registered for the presidential election are registered before their paperwork is complete,” Hart said.

There is a chance that the West does not do this in all these states where signatures still need to be verified.

West has missed ballets in several states, including New York, Kansas, Maine, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and South Carolina. Signing deadlines in Ohio, Colorado and Hawaii are on Wednesday, while California, Connecticut and Washington are later in the week.

The story has been updated to reflect efforts to get West on the ballot in Colorado and Ohio, along with Trump’s comments on Wednesday.