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GOP operatives linked to Kanye West’s presidential bid in potential ‘spoiler’ effort: NYT

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Kanye West hugging Trump
Kanye West hugging Trump (Photo: Wall Street Journal reporter Vivian Salama/Twitter)

There are questions as to whether Kanye West is running a “spoiler” bid for president to help re-elect his friend, Donald Trump, according to a new report by The New York Times.

“At least four people who have been active in Republican politics are linked to Kanye West’s attempt to get on the presidential ballot this year. The connection raises questions about the aims of the entertainer’s effort and whether it is regarded within the G.O.P. as a spoiler campaign that could aid President Trump, even as those close to Mr. West have expressed concerns about his mental health as he enters the political arena,” the newspaper reported.

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The report named names.

“One operative, Mark Jacoby, is an executive at a company called Let the Voters Decide, which has been collecting signatures for the West campaign in three states. Mr. Jacoby was arrested on voter fraud charges in 2008 while he was doing work for the California Republican Party, and he later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor,” the newspaper reported.

“New York Magazine reported Monday evening on the campaign’s links to two other people with partisan ties. One is Gregg Keller, the former executive director of the American Conservative Union, who has been listed as a contact for the campaign in Arkansas. Mr. Keller, who did not respond to a message seeking comment, is a Missouri-based strategist. He was under consideration to be Mr. Trump’s campaign manager in 2015, a role that was ultimately filled by Corey Lewandowski, according to a former campaign official,” the newspaper reported. “Another person linked to the West campaign is Chuck Wilton, who is listed as a convention delegate for Mr. Trump from Vermont and as an elector with the West operation who could potentially cast an Electoral College vote for Mr. West. Mr. Wilton could not be reached. He and his wife, Wendy, a Trump appointee at the United States Department of Agriculture, have been political supporters of the president. She hung up immediately when called at her office.”

The newspaper also reported on a video that went viral on Tuesday.

“Late Tuesday, a local reporter in Madison, Wis., recorded a woman dropping off ballot signatures for Mr. West. A report in Vice identified the woman as a Republican elections lawyer, Lane Ruhland. Ms. Ruhland worked for the Republican National Committee during the 2016 presidential election recount in Wisconsin,” The Times reported.

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“To be sure, if Mr. West’s goal is to disrupt the general election between Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump, he is going about it in a strange way. For instance, some of the states where he has filed to get on the ballot have been solidly red states, like Arkansas, where his presence would almost certainly do little to change the general election equation. But other states he is targeting, like Wisconsin, are seen as pivotal,” the newspaper explained. “Mr. West has missed the filing deadlines in a number of states, and on Tuesday he appeared to have abandoned efforts to get on the ballot in New Jersey, but he could still be a spoiler in other states.”

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