Presidential hopeful Kanye West is getting some assistance from the Republican party in an effort to get his name on the ballot.
The effort appears to be run by Donald Trump and his allies in several states, in an alleged attempt to divert votes from Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
On Tuesday, Lane Ruhland, an attorney who worked for the Trump campaign in 2016, delivered ballot signatures to Wisconsin elections officials on behalf of the West campaign. She has also been representing the Trump campaign in a lawsuit filed this year against a Wisconsin television station for airing an advertisement criticizing the dysfunctional president’s coronavirus response.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also reported that at least five other people connected to Kanye’s Wisconsin bid are either active in the Republican Party or are Trump supporters.
On Wednesday, Vice reported that a Republican operative in Colorado, Rachel George, was helping Mr. West get on the ballot there.
The strategy comes after Kim Kardashian West revealed that her husband struggles with mental illness, and has recently experienced an episode.
However, Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman, said there was no legal conflict with a Trump campaign lawyer’s involvement in the West operation. “We have no knowledge of anything Kanye West is doing or who is doing it for him,” Mr. Murtaugh said.
On Monday, a New York Magazine reported that Kanye’s campaign is also linked to two other people with Trump ties. Gregg Keller, the former executive director of the American Conservative Union, has been listed as a contact for the campaign in Arkansas and was under consideration to be Trump’s campaign manager in 2015.
Another person linked to the West’s campaign is Chuck Wilton, who is listed as a convention delegate for Trump from Vermont. His wife, Wendy, is a Trump appointee at the United States Department of Agriculture.
While the 43-year-old “Jesus Walks” rapper missed the deadline to get on the ballot in many states, he could serve as a spoiler in others, including battlegrounds like Wisconsin and Ohio, where signatures were filed on his behalf on Wednesday.
“It appears that the Kanye West campaign made a smart decision by hiring an experienced election attorney,” said Alesha Guenther, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin state Republican Party. “We welcome Kanye West and all other candidates who qualified for ballot access to the race.”