Kanye West’s bid to get on New Jersey’s presidential ballot is officially over, with West’s campaign telling New Jersey officials late Monday night that it will not dispute a challenge to the validity of its nominating petition.
The rapper’s campaign was due to appear in court Tuesday morning for a hearing on the petition, which an election lawyer alleged has hundreds of invalid signatures. West’s campaign said it would be “not appropriate” to move forward.
“At this time, Kanye 2020 has no further option than to regrettably withdraw from New Jersey and cease further efforts to place Mr. West’s name on the New Jersey ballot,” the campaign said in an email.
The email, to a state administrative law clerk, also refers to “the correspondence that was previously sent between you and the judge discussing media attention and was forwarded by accident.”
Despite the West campaign’s decision to bow out, an administrative law judge ruled on Tuesday anyway, saying the campaign had not properly withdrawn his candidacy. In her decision, Judge Gail Cookson ordered West’s petitions dismissed, saying his campaign did not follow the basic requirements of New Jersey election law.
Losing New Jersey adds another hurdle for West’s already-quixotic presidential bid. He’s won a ballot spot or filed petitions in just six states, and in two of those his petitions are being challenged.
His departure leaves New Jersey’s presidential race with six independent candidates.
West submitted a petition in New Jersey last week with over 1,300 signatures (he needed 800 to get on the ballot as an independent candidate). Lawyer Scott Salmon said in his complaint to state election officials that so many of the signatures were invalid the entire petition should be rejected.
West’s petition included names like Baby Raw, from Toms River, and Cold Farley.
West once had a cozy relationship with Trump, but now says he no longer supports the president. His unlikely presidential bid got the support of Tesla magnate Elon Musk and “Tiger King” star Carole Baskin.
Terrence T. McDonald is a reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.