vision 2020

Two People Linked to Kanye West’s Campaign Are Active in GOP Politics

Kanye West at the White House in 2018. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

At least two people with links to Kanye West’s nascent presidential campaign are also active in Republican Party politics.

One of West’s electors in the state of Vermont will also be a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Charlotte. Chuck Wilton, one of the three electors West’s presidential campaign named in a filing submitted with the Vermont secretary of State on Monday, was also elected by the Vermont Republican Party in May to serve as a delegate for President Trump at this year’s RNC. (Electors are the people who would – were the candidate to win the state – vote for them in the Electoral College.)

Asked by Intelligencer if he was the same person who was listed as a delegate, Wilton replied, “Yup, that would be me.” He said that he had been involved in politics in Vermont for years, and had been connected to the West campaign “through political contacts.”

“Somebody said that Vermont needs electors for certain people and [it was] something I said that I’m more than willing to do,” Wilton explained. He described himself politically as “conservative libertarian/center right,” adding that he was “not disappointed with [Trump] but wanted to search out some more alternatives to him.” Wilton said that he thought West was “center right” just like him.

The Republican National Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wilton was the second person with ties to the GOP to be linked to the West presidential campaign on Monday. A prominent Republican operative, Gregg Keller, was listed as the campaign’s point of contact in a filing with the Arkansas secretary of State. Keller, who did not respond to repeated requests for comment, is the former executive director of the American Conservative Union and has worked for a number of prominent Republican politicians including Mitt Romney and Josh Hawley.

West has expressed his opposition to abortion on Twitter and at a campaign event in South Carolina last month, and met with Trump wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat at the White House in 2018. He has since backed away from his support for Trump, but did tell Forbes in July, “Trump is the closest president we’ve had in years to allowing God to still be part of the conversation.”

West’s campaign has faced a number of stumbles in recent weeks while trying to get the rapper on the ballot this November, but the campaign did successfully file to appear on the ballot in Arkansas, West Virginia, and Vermont on Monday. The signatures he submitted in the first two states still need to be validated. Vermont does not require any petitioning to appear the ballot.

The rapper is also pushing forward with efforts to get on the ballot in two key swing states this week. In Wisconsin, which Donald Trump won by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016, there are 45 people on the ground working to get West on the ballot. He needs to collect and submit at least 2,000 valid signatures in that state by Tuesday evening. In Ohio, West is pushing to collect the 5,000 valid signatures needed to appear on the ballot, which have to be submitted on Wednesday.

His campaign still faces a number of hurdles, including a hearing in New Jersey on Tuesday morning over allegations that signatures submitted to get West on the ballot in the state were forged.

West would need to appear on the ballot in some combination of states totaling 270 electoral votes in order participate in the presidential debates. The Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonpartisan group that has moderated presidential debates since 1988, requires candidates meet that threshold, as well as having at least 15 percent support in opinion polls. West is precariously short of missing the second threshold. And even if he manages to stay on the ballot in every state where he has submitted signatures, the rapper would need to almost run the table for ballot access in the remaining states — and would need to make the ballot in California, which requires nearly 200,000 signatures that must be submitted by Thursday.

The West campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Two People Linked to Kanye West’s Campaign Have Ties to GOP