Kanye West won't make Michigan's November ballot

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Kanye West, the college dropout turned music superstar turned apparent presidential candidate, has already missed out on making the ballot in Michigan.

West announced on Twitter July 4 that he was running for president, saying the country must "now realize the promise of America by trusting God." But it remains unclear how serious the rapper, who has previously touted President Donald Trump, is about the campaign.

Kanye West, in his first event since declaring himself a presidential candidate, delivered a lengthy monologue Sunday touching on topics from abortion and religion to international trade and licensing deals. (Lauren Petracca Ipetracca/The Post And Courier via AP)

Over the weekend, West, who is married to celebrity Kim Kardashian West, held his first campaign event in South Carolina. However, he faces a series of significant logistical hurdles in his late-launching campaign for president, including missing the filing deadline in multiple states, including Michigan.

Independent candidates — those not affiliated with a political party — running for partisan, statewide offices in Michigan, like president, had to file petition signatures from supporters by 4 p.m. Thursday to make the November ballot. West didn't file petition signatures and won't be on the ballot in Michigan, said Tracy Wimmer, spokeswoman for Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, the state's top election official.

"West, nor anyone from his team, made any attempt to contact our Bureau of Elections for anything," Wimmer said in a Monday email. "On our end, we have no indication there was an attempt to collect signatures, as none were submitted."

Previously, independents running for statewide office in Michigan have had to gather 30,000 signatures to make the ballot. But in 2019, a federal judge said the threshold was "burdensome" and lowered it to 12,000 until the Legislature draws up new rules.

West could still run as an official write-in candidate for president in Michigan. To do that, West would have to submit the name of his running mate, a list of presidential electors and a declaration of intent to the Department of State by Sept. 4.

West's campaign appears to be organizing petition gathering efforts in South Carolina and qualified to appear on Oklahoma’s presidential ballot, the first state where he met the requirements before the filing deadline, according to the Associated Press.

A presidential candidate committee called Kanye 2020 formed last week, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Still, West's apparent bid seemed to be more similar to rumblings about musician Kid Rock running for the U.S. Senate in 2018 than the 2016 presidential campaign of Trump, a reality TV star who had been serious about running from the beginning, said David Dulio, a political science professor at Oakland University.

Kid Rock gained attention as a potential U.S. Senate candidate in Michigan in 2018 when he began selling merchandise that said "Kid Rock for U.S. Senate." But he later said the gear was a "concert promotion" and use of "Kid Rock for US Senate" on merchandise was merely a slogan.

"I tend to stay away from predictions," Dulio said Monday. "I am completely confident in saying that Kanye West will not be the next president of the United States."