West filed on Wednesday — the deadline — to run as an independent in Oklahoma

By Adam Carlson
Updated July 16, 2020 11:45 AM
Advertisement

Kanye West meant what he said: Less than two weeks after tweeting that he was running for president this year, the 43-year-old rapper and designer has filed his first official paperwork about his campaign, PEOPLE confirms.

A West representative filed paperwork in Oklahoma on Wednesday to qualify him to run as an independent on the November ballot, according to a spokeswoman for the state's election board.

She says West paid the required $35,000 filing fee and also submitted a statement of candidacy. Wednesday was the last day for candidates to file in Oklahoma in order to appear on November's ballot there.

A copy of the paperwork shows that at the top of his statement of candidacy in Oklahoma, someone wrote "DONDA'S PLACE." West's late mother, Donda, was born in Oklahoma.

Separately on Wednesday, West's team appears to have filed a statement of organization with the Federal Election Commission designating his principal campaign committee as Kanye 2020.

The form, reviewed by PEOPLE, lists the office West is seeking as the presidency and his political party as "BDY." That is seemingly a reference to the Birthday Party, which West mentioned in a recent Forbes interview.

The FEC form names an Andre Bodiford as treasurer of the committee, which is the official group that raises and spends money on behalf of West's candidacy. (A message left at Bodiford's listed number was not returned. A spokesman for West did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.)

And then early Thursday, West appears to have filed his statement of candidacy, which under federal law would make him a presidential candidate.

An FEC spokesperson tells PEOPLE West is required to file the latter form "within 15 days of raising or spending more than $5,000 in federal campaign activity."

West still faces significant hurdles to appear on the ballot in most states in the November election. One recent national poll put his support at 2 percent.

Kanye West
Brad Barket/Getty

The deadline has already passed for him to run as an independent in several states, including some of the largest such as Florida and Texas.

In some others, he would need tens of thousands of signatures from residents.

West has talked about running for president off and on for years, including during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, even as his political leanings have shifted.

He announced his latest and most serious bid in a brief tweet on the Fourth of July, writing then: "We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future." (Wife Kim Kardashian West retweeted that post and added an American Flag emoji.)

Last week, Forbes published excerpts from what it called "four rambling hours of interviews" with Kanye about his politics and potential presidential platform.

His statements — including criticizing vaccination as "the mark of the beast," saying the White House should be run like a fictional country from Black Panther and saying Black History Month was "torture porn"— drew immediate controversy.

Kanye West
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

"I have to say with all humility that as a man, I don’t have all of the pieces in the puzzle," he told Forbes, elsewhere in the interview explaining: "God just gave me the clarity and said it’s time. You know I was out there, ended up in the hospital, people were calling me crazy. I'm not crazy."

Kanye said he had changed his mind about supporting President Donald Trump. But he also criticized former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump's rival in the election.

He told Forbes his 2020 plan traced back to the 2015 VMAs.

"I was in the shower, thinking, I write raps in the shower. It hit me to say, 'You’re going to run for president,' and I started laughing hysterically," Kanye told the magazine. "I was, like, this is the best, I'm going to go out there and they’re going to think I'm going to do these songs and do this for entertainment, how rigged awards shows are, and then say I’m going to run for president.

"And I just laughed in the shower, I don’t know for how long, but that’s the moment it hit me."