- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 6, 2020

California’s recently distributed mail-in presidential ballot contained a curveball: rap music mogul Kanye West as the vice-presidential nominee for the American Independent Party.

Even Mr. West, who is running for president as the Birthday Party nominee in several states, might have been unaware of the nomination. The party’s choice for president, Rocque “Rocky” de la Fuente, said he had never spoken to Mr. West.

“It’s their choice and their choice only,” said Mr. de La Fuente, a wealthy San Diego car dealer and businessman who was educated in Mexico.

Adding to the confusion, Mr. de la Fuente is already on the ballot in multiple states as the nominee of the Reform Party or the Alliance Party, and is running there on a ticket with Darcy Richardson as the vice-presidential choice.

Indeed, Mr. Richardson was reportedly so irate at the AIP choosing Mr. West that he threatened to withdraw entirely as a candidate.

Mr. de la Fuente said the rift has been healed.

“I told him I had nothing to do with this, and he said OK,” he told The Washington Times. “It’s behind us.”

Mr. West could not be reached for comment.

The American Independent Party is a conservative party that has been around sine 1967. It’s best known for nominating Alabama Gov. George Wallace to run against the GOP’s Richard Nixon in 1968.

Mr. West declared his presidential run on July 4. His campaign soon was mired in headlines about his bipolar episodes and friction with his wife, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West.

Mr. de la Fuente, 65, is a peripatetic candidate who has run for office as both a Republican and a Democrat. Other offices he sought include mayor of New York, senator in multiple states and congressman in the California district that includes the San Joaquin Valley and portions of Fresno.

He ran as senator in multiple states in 2018, he said, to point out how easy it is to get on the ballot for Senate compared to running for president.

“This merry-go-round that is 2020,” he said, disgustedly. “I wanted to be on the ballot in my home state and this saved me $4 million bucks.”

That figure — $4 million — is what Mr. de la Fuente said is required to get 197,000 signatures you need to get on the California ballot, whereas in Colorado he noted you simply pay $1,000.

“It’s mathematically impossible to run if you don’t pay up,” he said.

• James Varney can be reached at jvarney@washingtontimes.com.

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