Musician and entrepreneur Kanye West stunned Americans last month when he abruptly announced his campaign for President of the United States.
Though West has missed the filing deadline for multiple states, efforts to get him on the ballot in some states—including the crucial swing state of Wisconsin—are very much alive, largely thanks to local Republican politicos.
According to Vice, Lane Ruhland—a Republican elections lawyer—was seen by Wisconsin journalist Matt Smith submitting signatures in support of West's candidacy to the election office in Wisconsin.
She was caught on video.
Ruhland is active in Wisconsin GOP politics and without securing the state's 10 electoral votes, Trump's pathways to reelection all but evaporate. Recent polls have shown Wisconsin leaning toward Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Ruhland was the lawyer on record in the Trump campaign's efforts to censor an ad from the Democratic political action committee Priorities USA. She was representing the campaign in court only one week before filing on behalf of West.
Another operative is Mark Jacoby, an executive at Let The Voters Decide, which the New York Times reported is collecting signatures for West's candidacy in three states. Jacoby was arrested in 2008 on voter fraud charges while working with the California Republican Party.
Chuck Wilton, a pro-Trump convention delegate from Vermont, is a West campaign elector as well. Wilton's wife is a Trump appointee at the United States Department of Agriculture.
Gregg Keller, former executive director of the American Conservative Union, is listed as the West campaign's contact person in the state of Arkansas.
It's becoming more and more clear that Republicans are hoping West can attract enough would-be Biden votes to eke out a victory in crucial states. This would be a similar dynamic to 2016, with third party candidacies like Jill Stein's and Gary Johnson's blamed by many for preventing nominee Hillary Clinton from securing a majority in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.
West suffers from bipolar disorder and has had severe public mental health episodes in the past. West's wife, Kim Kardashian West, recently pleaded on Instagram for privacy and respect for her husband's condition as he navigates his mental health.
People are accusing Republicans of using West with total disregard for his health and circumstances.
Republicans apparently believe that a wide margin of Black Democrat voters will vote for West over Biden, but many see that as a faulty, monolithic view of Black voters.
Interestingly enough, a Redfield and Wilton national poll conducted last month showed Biden's lead over Trump expand by one point with West included on the ballot.
It's unclear though if this phenomenon would be consistent, especially within swing states.
UPDATE: Old Bull TV has obtained a copy of West's Wisconsin filing. Hundreds of names are scratched out and inadmissible, calling into question whether or not West has a sufficient amount of signatures to appear on the ballot in November.