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Kanye West Will Appear On The Iowa Ballot As A Presidential Candidate

Evan Vucci
AP file
Rapper Kanye West speaks during a meeting at the White House with President Donald Trump, Oct. 11, 2018, in Washington.

Musician Kanye West will appear on the Iowa ballot as a presidential candidate after state officials dismissed two objections to his candidacy Monday.

One objection alleged that some of West’s petition signatures were inauthentic. But the State Objection Panel dismissed that concern, saying even if the handful of identified signatures weren’t legitimate, West’s campaign had collected about 2,000 more signatures than the minimum to get on the ballot.

The second objection alleged West illegally misrepresented himself by running as a no-party candidate. West is a registered Republican voter in Wyoming.

“We want to make sure the folks being asked to sign these nominating petitions which party, if any, the candidate is affiliated with at that time,” said Brad Schroeder, the attorney representing two Waterloo residents who objected to West’s candidacy. “And there’s no question he was affiliated with the Republican Party and registered as a Republican.”

Nick Mauro, a lawyer representing the West campaign, said Iowa law doesn’t require a candidate to renounce the party with which they’re registered as a voter in order to run as an unaffiliated candidate.

“Because Mr. West was not nominated by either the Republican or Democratic party, the secretary of state’s specific guidance to him says he is not allowed to choose either one of those distinctions,” Mauro said.

The State Objection Panel—made up of the Republican secretary of state and Democratic attorney general and state auditor—agreed with Mauro that West didn’t violate state law.

“I don’t necessarily believe that Mr. West did anything incorrect,” Secretary of State Paul Pate said. “I think he did follow the candidate guidelines that our office put out.”

“The panel very much tries to err on the side of allowing people to be on the ballot for important policy and constitutional reasons,” said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. “We want people to be able to run, and we want voters to be able to choose from a large group.”

Iowa is now one of about 10 states where West has so far qualified to appear on the ballot, according to a CNN analysis.

Republican operatives throughout the country have assisted West in getting added to ballots, raising questions about whether they are using West to try to draw votes away from Democrat Joe Biden. The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee have denied any coordination.

Iowa Starting Line has reported that registered Republicans signed and turned in West’s nominating petitions for the Iowa ballot, and that all six of his potential presidential electors from this state are registered Republicans.