Election 2020 Kanye West

Kanye West makes his first presidential campaign appearance, Sunday, July 19, 2020, in North Charleston, S.C. The rapper delivered a lengthy monologue touching on topics from abortion and religion to international trade and licensing deals. On Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, he filed to appear on Colorado's November ballot.

Among the nine Coloradans who signed up to represent unaffiliated candidate Kanye West as presidential electors are a former state director for the Republican National Committee and a one-time GOP legislative candidate and county party officer, according to documents filed by the rapper's campaign Wednesday to gain access to the November ballot.

Two of the other registered voters who signed forms saying they'll cast Electoral College votes for West if he wins the state are veteran GOP operatives, including one who handled media relations last year for Republican congressional candidate Steve House and another who worked as a policy adviser for the Colorado Senate Republicans.

Their role in putting West on Colorado's ballot — with the assistance of prominent Republican consultant Rachel George, a spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner when he was in the House and former State Treasurer Walker Stapleton when he was running for governor — has fueled speculation that the erratic billionaire's candidacy is an effort by President Donald Trump's allies to siphon votes from presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

For years, West was one of Trump's most prominent supporters, but on July 4 he declared he was running for president, although it was already too late to make the ballot in some states. His candidacy drew a tweet from Trump suggesting it "shouldn't be hard" for West to draw Black support from Biden.

Following West's rambling speech at his first campaign rally late last month in South Carolina, Kim Kardashian West, his wife, posted to social media that her husband "is a brilliant but complicated person" dealing with numerous challenges, including "the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bi-polar disorder."

West's path to the Colorado ballot echoes efforts uncovered in other states, where Republicans and Trump supporters have played key roles gathering signatures and submitting paperwork.

In an email circulated earlier this week to potential electors, George wrote that she had "the most random favor to ask of you ever," adding, "I realize this is hilarious," according to Vice News, which first reported the operative's involvement in the scheme.

All it takes for unaffiliated presidential hopefuls to make the Colorado ballot are a check for $1,000, signed and notarized statements of intent from the candidates — West and vice presidential running mate Michelle Tidball, a Wyoming life coach, in this case — and the signatures of nine registered voters willing to serve as presidential electors.

The deadline to submit forms for the 2020 election was 3 p.m. Wednesday, 90 days before the General Election.

Betsy Hart, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Secretary of State's Office, confirmed that West's campaign filed the required check and paperwork early Wednesday afternoon.

The electors pledged to West all live in the Denver metro area: five in Denver and one each in Centennial, Brighton, Golden and unincorporated Adams County.

Not all of West's Colorado electors have Republican links — two are registered Democrats, including a doctor who told ABC news reporter Jeffrey Cook she hadn't decided how she'll vote for president but believes voters ought to have a choice if a candidate wants to run.

The four with ties to the Republican Party and GOP campaigns are Adam Johnson, Matthew Zielinski, Seth Jacobson and Joseph Peters, an assistant attorney general.

Johnson, who changed his registration last year from Republican to unaffiliated, was hired as political director for the state Republican Party in early 2017 and months later was named state director for the RNC, part of what the GOP called "the most expansive midterm field program in the party’s history." A couple months before the 2018 election, he took a job at conservative advocacy organization Compass Colorado, and early last year moved to run Ryan Frazier's unsuccessful campaign for Aurora mayor.

Johnson has a political resumé stretching back nearly two decades, including jobs on then-Gov. Bill Owens' 2002 re-election campaign and in the governor's office, and work on Republican Bob Schaeffer and Jane Norton's U.S. Senate campaigns in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

Zielinski served as an officer in the Adams County GOP, ran as a write-in candidate in a Republican legislative primary in Denver in 2012, and was active earlier this decade with the Denver Metro Young Republicans.

In addition to serving as a press contact last year for the House campaign, Jacobson also worked at Compass Colorado and was political director for Darryl Glenn's 2016 U.S. Senate run, as well as holding a position on Gardner's 2014 U.S. Senate campaign.

Peters' political experience is less recent, including four years with the Colorado Senate Republicans last decade and some campaign work before that.

West electors contacted by Colorado Politics didn't respond to requests for comment, though Zielinski tweeted Wednesday afternoon that he was an "advocate for the First Amendment, and for freedom of the press," and added: "I also believe in rep. democracy, fair ballot access, and for the right of voters to choose reps. for themselves."

George said in her email that reporters might ask electors why they signed on with West. "But you would just ignore that call and let me know, and the campaign would handle it," she said.

Neither George nor the West campaign responded to requests for comment.

Spokesmen for the Colorado Republican Party and the Biden campaign declined to comment, and a spokesman for the RNC and Colorado Trump campaign didn't respond to Colorado Politics.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh denied the campaign had any "knowledge of anything Kanye West is doing or who is doing it for him."

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