FILE - Kanye West answers questions during a church service, Nov. 17, 2019, in Houston, TX.
FILE - Kanye West answers questions during a church service, Nov. 17, 2019, in Houston, TX. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Tactic is similar to 2012 when the GOP ran fake Democrats to force primaries.

Wisconsin Republicans appear to be borrowing a page from their 2012 playbook – when they ran fake Democrats in various recall elections – and giving assistance to a rapper whose novelty campaign for president could potentially siphon votes away from presumptive nominee Joe Biden.

People hired by Kanye West filed signatures right at the deadline Tuesday evening in an effort to be on the Wisconsin presidential ballot as an independent candidate.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission staff will be reviewing the petitions in coming days to determine if there are enough valid signatures and if the candidates meet all qualifications to get on the ballot. 

As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Vice News, the West petitions were brought to the commission’s office by Lane Ruhland, who is currently representing President Trump in a lawsuit against a Wisconsin TV station over a political commercial. She is also a former attorney for the Republican Party of Wisconsin. Vice reports that Ruhland recently served as director of environmental and energy policy at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the large business lobby that has likely spent more than $20 million from 2006 through this year’s most recent state Supreme Court race, nearly all of it on Republican and conservative candidates.

The Journal Sentinel story shows how several of West’s 10 Wisconsin electors named in the paperwork have a history of Republican activism and Trump support. 

It is unclear whether West being on the ballot would prove to be a successful tactic to weaken Biden in Wisconsin. A national poll last month found that West garnered 2 percent support, but that support actually siphoned from Trump.

West made headlines during Trump’s presidency for his bizarre outward support of Trump, a surprising turn from the celebrity who once proclaimed “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” on live television. However, since launching his presidential campaign, West has disavowed Trump.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.