- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 16, 2020

It remains to be seen how serious music mogul and entrepreneur Kanye West is about running for president, but he’s on the ballot in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma State Election Board said Mr. West has qualified as an independent candidate for the 2020 presidential ballot in Oklahoma after submitting a statement of candidacy and filing fee in lieu of petition signatures.

Also qualifying for the Oklahoma presidential ballot was Brock Pierce, a gaming and cryptocurrency entrepreneur whose net worth was estimated in 2018 by Forbes at between $700 million and $1.1 billion, and concert pianist Jade Simmons.

Whether that means the independent candidates plan to launch legitimate national campaigns to challenge the Republican and Democratic nominees is unclear, given Oklahoma’s millionaire-friendly filing requirements for presidential hopefuls.

The state amended its law in 2017 to give independent candidates the option of submitting $5,000 per presidential elector, or $35,000, rather than gather tens of thousands of signatures from registered voters, an onerous process that requires a ground operation and can take months.

The petition requirement for 2020 presidential candidates was 35,592 signatures, or 3% of the votes cast in the most recent gubernatorial election.

Both Mr. West and Mr. Pierce opted to write the $35,000 checks and submitted them shortly before the 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline, said Oklahoma elections public-information officer Misha Mohr.

Mr. West, whose net worth is estimated at $1.3 billion, announced in a July 4 tweet that he was running for president. New York Magazine reported Tuesday that campaign adviser Steve Kramer said “he’s out,” although the latest indications are that the rapper and reality-TV star, who is married to Kim Kardashian West, is still in the mix.

The Federal Election Commission website showed that a presidential committee called “Kanye 2020” submitted paperwork on Wednesday. Mr. West posted a July 9 video showing him registering to vote for the first time in Cody, Wyoming, where he has a ranch.

Still, he has some catching up to do. He has already missed the filing deadline for independent presidential candidates in Alabama, Georgia, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina and Texas, and the deadlines for Florida, Indiana and South Carolina was Wednesday, according to the FEC.

Mr. Pierce has qualified for only one state ballot, but “there are others in the works,” according to a spokesperson.

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