• Original Reporting
  • Sources Cited
Original Reporting This article contains new, firsthand information uncovered by its reporter(s). This includes directly interviewing sources and research / analysis of primary source documents.
Sources Cited As a news piece, this article cites verifiable, third-party sources which have all been thoroughly fact-checked and deemed credible by the Newsroom in accordance with the Civil Constitution.
Kanye West performs at The Museum of Modern Art's annual Party in the Garden benefit, New York City, May 10, 2011. (Photo by Jason Persse, via Flickr)

The controversial rapper Kanye West has qualified to be on Colorado’s 2020 presidential ballot, state elections officials announced Thursday.

West, who listed his political party affiliation as unaffiliated, paid $1,000 and submitted the names of nine valid electors to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday ahead of a 3 p.m. deadline to ensure his spot in the November contest.

West listed his address as being in Cody, Wyoming, where he owns a ranch. He listed Michelle Tidball, who describes herself as a biblical life coach, as his running mate.

West was aided by longtime Colorado GOP operative Rachel George, who once was a spokeswoman for Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, in his quest to make Colorado’s ballot. Several of his electors have worked in Republican politics in the state.

The Colorado Sun reached out to all nine of West’s electors. Only two, Mark Polk and Seth Jacobson, returned a message or answered the phone.

Polk declined to answer questions about why he is supporting West’s candidacy. He referred questions to the West campaign. 

“I believe the campaign can basically answer all the questions,” Polk said in a brief interview.

Jacobson, who has worked in Republican politics in the past but now is an unaffiliated voter, said he became an elector for West after answering a solicitation from George. He said he was already planning to vote for a third-party candidate in 2020. 

“To be honest, I’m not happy with either major-party candidate,” he said. “One, I think, is a jerk and the other is basically a stand-in for the vice president.”

Matthew Zielinski, an Adams County Republican official, didn’t respond to The Sun’s inquiries, but posted on Twitter that he believes in “(representative) democracy, fair ballot access, and for the right of voters to choose (representatives) for themselves.”

Some Democrats see West’s campaign as a threat because he could take votes away from former Vice President Joe Biden, therefore aiding President Donald Trump’s reelection bid. Others say West could siphon votes from Trump.

West, who visited Trump in the White House while donning a “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” hat, announced he was running on July 4.

West must collect nearly 200,000 valid signatures from voters in California by close-of-business on Friday to get on that state’s ballot, Forbes reports. If he’s unsuccessful, it will be mathematically impossible for him to win the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency.

West’s campaign has been working to secure his spot on ballots across the U.S. in recent days. The New York Times reports he has been receiving help from several Republican operatives close to Trump.

Gov. Jared Polis on Thursday, speaking to reporters, said he can’t figure out whether West’s candidacy is serious. 

“It’s unclear in this case whether this is an actual candidacy or whether it’s just kind of a joke or prank. Obviously running for office is not a joke and  prank. If you’re serious about it, by all means: any person can do it. There’s always 20 or 30 people on that ballot and in their minds each one is going to be the president of the United States.”

Polis is backing Biden’s 2020 campaign.

Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage....