DFL calls sleazy on Yeezy bid for POTUS

Kanye West gets on the Minnesota presidential ballot; DFL says it’s a GOP ploy

By: - August 18, 2020 10:41 pm

Rapper Kanye West speaks during a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval office of the White House on October 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. Photo by Oliver Contreras/Getty Images.

Just minutes before the deadline, signatures were submitted Tuesday to get rapper Kanye West’s name on the Minnesota presidential ballot this November.

The required 2,000 signatures and a slate of electors were turned in about 20 minutes before the 5 o’clock deadline, according to Risikat Adesaogun, spokeswoman  for Secretary of State Steve Simon. They must submit up to 10 electors and alternate electors and a vice president should be listed, she said. West has listed a Wyoming preacher as his running mate elsewhere.

The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party alleges Republicans are helping West — whose wife says he’s experiencing symptoms of his bipolar disorder — in an effort to pull young, Black and hip-hop loving voters away from Democrat Joe Biden.  

The secretary of state now has 10 days to review the signatures and make sure they’re legitimate, which has been an issue in other states. Last week, a former lawyer for the Wisconsin Republican Party who has represented President Donald Trump was spotted dropping off signatures to get West on the ballot in that battleground state. Those signatures included a “Mickey Mouse” and “Bernie Sanders,” Democrats allege in a complaint.  

“If all that checks out,” Adesaogun said of the signatures, “he will be on the ballot for November.”  

West has largely disappeared from the political scene after he announced his candidacy on July Fourth, followed by a bizarre campaign rally in South Carolina. Days later, his wife Kim Kardashian released a statement reiterating that West has bipolar disorder and it’s “incredibly complicated and painful.” 

Still, Republican operatives have been trying to get West on the ballot in some battleground states to help Trump.

A Minnesota Reformer reporter was approached by two young men gathering signatures to get West on the ballot near a Trump rally at the Mankato airport Monday. The road was lined with Trump supporters hoping for a glimpse of the president. When informed they were speaking to the Reformer, they scurried away, saying they didn’t want their photo taken. 

DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin called it an obvious Republican attempt to get West on the ballot, and said the DFL is “reviewing all available options for defending the integrity of our elections.”

“Let’s be clear about what’s happening here: Donald Trump doesn’t think he can win this election fair and square after his failure to contain COVID-19 brought about mass deaths across America and crashed our economy, so his cronies are trying to get Kanye West on the ballot in a pathetic attempt to pull votes from Joe Biden and steal this election for Trump,” he said in a statement.

Adesaogun did not know who dropped off the paperwork, but Jennifer Crancer of Chestnut Cambronne law firm had been in contact with the secretary of state’s office with procedural questions about minor party/independent petition requirements to get on the ballot, Adesaogun said.

Brian Evans, spokesman for the Minnesota DFL Party, said Crancer’s husband has Republican ties. Given what’s happened in other states, “We’re pretty sure that this is a Republican effort,” Evans said. 

Crancer’s husband Kit Crancer was a GOP aide in the Missouri state Senate and is currently a lobbyist, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Crancer could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.  

Trump has had his eye on Minnesota since 2016, when Hillary Clinton eked out a victory here by 44,000 votes. A recent poll has him trailing Biden by just 3 points.

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs. Before joining the staff of the Reformer in 2021 she was a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She and her husband have a daughter, son, and very grand child. In her spare time, she likes to play tennis, jog, garden and attempt to check out all the best restaurants in the metro area.