UPDATE 2 (7/16): On Thursday morning, Kanye West filed a FEC Form 2 Statement of Candidacy under his recently announced Birthday Party (abbreviated to “BDY” on the form). The form is filed, per a FEC rep, “once an individual has raised or spent more than $5,000 in campaign activity, triggering candidacy status under federal campaign finance law.”
UPDATE (7/15): Kanye West has qualified for the General Election ballot in Oklahoma, according to a tweet from Oklahoma State Election Board. Wednesday was the deadline for independent presidential candidates to file statements of candidacy in the state.
Independent presidential candidate Kanye West has qualified for the General Election ballot in Oklahoma. (Today is Oklahoma's deadline for Independent & Unrecognized Party presidential candidates to file statements of candidacy with their petitions or filing fee.)
— Oklahoma State Election Board (@OKelections) July 15, 2020
Days after Kanye West announced he would run for president in 2020 — and hours after a report stating that he already abandoned his candidacy — a political committee called “Kanye 2020” filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.
The Statement of Organization form filed Wednesday with the FEC states Kanye West is the committee’s candidate in the 2020 presidential election, with the address to the rapper’s ranch in Cody, Wyoming listed as their address.
A rep for West declined to comment. The FEC confirmed to Rolling Stone that the Kanye 2020 committee filed their Form 1 Wednesday, but warned: “We cannot confirm the legitimacy of this filing so you may want to reach out to the treasurer listed in the filing.”
The treasurer and custodian of records listed is Andre Bodiford, who similarly gives his address as the Cody ranch. While there is no clear connection to Bodiford and West, a man with the same name is followed by singer and West’s cousin Tony Williams on social media. On a YouTube account linked to Bodiford, he posted a video on June 24th where he attended a rodeo in Wyoming; on July 4th, Williams posted photos on Instagram of himself and fellow West associate Rhymefest at the same rodeo venue. Bodiford did not reply to multiple requests for comment.
The filing came hours after a New York magazine report that cast doubt on West’s significantly tardy campaign, noting that a specialist hired to help West get on the ballots in South Carolina and Florida before a July 15th deadline was already let go. If West were to run, he has also missed the FEC filing deadline in states like Nevada, New York, and West’s home state of Illinois. However, the Chance the Rapper-backed candidate is eligible to be on the ballot in Wyoming if he completes the necessary paperwork.
Christian Hilland, deputy press officer at the FEC, tells Rolling Stone that, while Form 1 was submitted, the rapper is not yet officially a candidate. “You will want to be on the lookout for an FEC Form 2 (Statement of Candidacy),” Hilland said. “A Statement of Candidacy is filed once an individual has raised or spent more than $5,000 in campaign activity, triggering candidacy status under federal campaign finance law. I see no such filing.”
On July 9th, the now-Trump-free West appeared to pivot from presidential candidate to first-time voter after tweeting a video in which he visited his nearby county clerk’s office to register to vote, and encouraged his fans to do the same:
— ye (@kanyewest) July 9, 2020