As deadlines around the country have come and gone, West, a rapper who has avidly supported President Donald Trump in the past and announced a run for the presidency earlier this summer, is officially on the ballot in 11 states.
His campaign has been unusual. Though he’s running as a member of the “Birthday Party,” it has been Republicans who have consistently worked on the often chaotic, buzzer-beater efforts to get West on ballots around the country. After a controversial campaign launch in South Carolina, West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, posted on Instagram saying he was having a bipolar episode. West later apologized to his wife and thanked her for being there for him.
Of the states where West has been victorious in his long shot bid, the most keenly-watched swing states are Colorado and Minnesota, both competitive states that lean Democrat and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. In Colorado, Clinton won by a narrow five percentage points, and Minnesota, she only won by 1.5 percentage points.
Minnesota also has a history of being receptive to third parties, compared to other states, according to J. Miles Coleman, associate editor at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a political analysis institution run by the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
“This is, of course, to the extent that he’d be making serious and strategic choices to earn votes,” Coleman said.
“Basically, if Minnesota ends up being as close as Trump says it will be, third parties could potentially be decisive. West’s presence on the ballot would certainly make it at least a bit harder for Biden to consolidate the anti-Trump vote,” Coleman said.
West is also on the ballot in a slate of Republican states, including Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Utah, Idaho, Iowa and Tennessee, and the deeply blue state of Vermont. It’s unclear what role West can play in states that Biden is either not slated to win over, or is highly anticipated to sweep, though competitive down-ballot races could be impacted.
In Mississippi, another Republican state, West filed to get on the ballot on Friday. A decision for West in Mississippi is expected on Sept. 8.
But the final deadline to file to get on any more ballots came Friday, after months of blanketing states around the country with petitioners outside grocery stores and courthouses.
With just about two months until Election Day, time has run out. The first absentee ballots of the November election were sent out to North Carolina voters on Friday, and voters in Kentucky and Pennsylvania will be able to request and send back their absentee ballots starting on Sept. 14.
While West has pending lawsuits in Wisconsin, Ohio and West Virginia, states where he was rejected from the ballot and then sued, past lawsuits haven’t gone in his favor. Courts have already ruled against West in Arizona and Virginia, where he was rejected from the ballot because he filed as an independent but is a registered Republican and didn’t have enough valid signatures, respectively.
With the states he has succeeded in, it’s not possible for West to reach the 270 electoral votes necessary to win, though Democrats allege that West isn’t trying to win and is instead attempting to siphon votes away from Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
In an interview with Forbes last month, when asked if he’s acting as a spoiler candidate for Biden, West said “I’m not going to argue with you.” In another interview with Forbes in July, West also said that Democrats shouldn’t take Black voters for grated, saying “To say that the Black vote is Democratic is a form of racism and white supremacy.”
West, who is a registered Republican, has been largely aided by Republican lawyers and operatives around the country, including lawyers with direct ties to the Trump administration. West also recently met with Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law to Trump, though Kushner said they didn’t discuss West’s campaign.
West has only held one campaign event so far, which was in South Carolina.
Late Friday afternoon, the West campaign filed its first disclosure report to the Federal Election Commission showing the candidate has essentially self-funded the campaign during its first month and a half. West loaned his own campaign more than $6.7 million and raised just under $11,500 from donors from mid-July through the end of August, according to the filing, and the campaign spent roughly $5.9 million during that time period, mostly on ballot access services and various other campaign services.