The rapper's presidential bid looks increasingly like an effort to siphon votes from Biden to help Trump.
A GOP lawyer with ties to Donald Trump campaign submitted signatures on Tuesday to get rapper Kanye West onto the presidential ballot in Wisconsin, Vice News reported — making West's bid look increasingly like a Republican effort to help siphon off Black votes from presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden to help Trump's reelection bid.
Vice reported that West's ballot petition was dropped off by Lane Ruhland, a GOP election lawyer who represented the Trump campaign in court last week. Ruhland — who is arguing to get a Democratic ad that criticized Trump's failed coronavirus response off the airwaves — declined to comment to Vice News about her role in helping West get on the ballot.
Ruhland is one of a handful of GOP operatives with ties to Trump who have helped West's presidential bid.
Greg Keller, a Republican operative who has worked on a number of GOP campaigns — such as former Gov. Scott Walker's failed presidential bid, as well as Mitt Romney's failed 2012 presidential election — is also helping West, New York Magazine reported on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that several of the electors West needed to get on the ballot are major Trump supporters or Republican activists.
And the New York Times reported that two other Republican operatives are working to help West's bid, including Mark Jacoby — who was arrested in 2008 on allegations of fraud while he worked for the California Republican Party.
Members of Trump's own campaign have admitted that West's bid would help Trump peel Black voters from Biden in an effort to help Trump's struggling reelection bid.
"He may just be trying to distance himself from Donald Trump enough to be able to get some of the Black community that would not vote for Trump, but may have voted for Biden to write his name it," David Harris Jr., a member of the Trump campaign's Black Voices for Trump advisory board, told Just the News. Just the News is a conservative outlet run by John Solomon, whose "opinion" columns on Ukraine in the Hill newspaper helped push the false "Burisma" story that ultimately got Trump impeached.
It's unclear whether West's ballot petition in Wisconsin will be accepted. Wisconsin, however, is a critical state in November. Trump carried the state by less than 1% in 2016. Biden currently holds a 7.6% lead in the state, according to FiveThirtyEight's polling average.
Melissa Baldauff, a spokesperson for Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, condemned the GOP's efforts to help West get on the ballot.
"It's the least surprising thing in the world that WI Republicans want to screw around with our elections," Baldauff tweeted on Tuesday.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.