Kanye West has held his first-ever campaign event for the 2020 U.S. presidential race on Sunday, completely refuting previous reports that he’s dropping out of the election.
West’s debut campaign rally took place at the Exquis Event Center in North Charleston, South Carolina, where the rapper appeared on stage shortly after 5 p.m. with the numbers “2020” in his hair.
After asking a couple of young women from the audience to speak on stage about issues that concerned them, West delivered a speech that tackled several topics, including his battle with opioids, business dealings with Adidas, and his pro-life stance.
At one point during his speech, West shed some tears while sharing his father’s desire to abort him, and recalling the time when his wife, Kim Kardashian, was having their first child “even when I didn’t want to.” “I almost killed my daughter. I love my daughter,” West said of his first-born, North. “God wants us to create. No more Plan B― Plan A.”
When those particular statements got a mixed response from the rallygoers, West made it clear that he thinks abortion should be legal, and that there should be more support for those who need it. “The maximum increase would be everybody that has a baby gets a million dollars or something in that range,” he said.
West also mentioned that marijuana “should be free,” before ending the hour-long event with a Q&A with the audience. Attendees were told to social distance and wear a mask during the entire rally, and were asked to sign a COVID-19 liability release form before entering the venue.
West’s campaign rally in South Carolina comes a day before the state’s deadline to file signatures as an independent candidate. To get on the presidential ballot as an independent candidate, South Carolina requires 10,000 signatures, as the state does not allow write-in candidates on the ballot.
A day before the campaign rally, West took to Twitter to ask his supporters to “please sign up to put me on the ballot in South Carolina.”
— ye (@kanyewest) July 18, 2020
Just hours after an ex-adviser to West’s presidential campaign reportedly told a media outlet that West was going to drop out of the race earlier this week, news surfaced that West and his team had actually filed the required paperwork with the Federal Election Campaign to launch an official presidential campaign.
A source with knowledge of West’s presidential bid told ABC News that the two-week-old campaign is “maturing and growing” and is now working in multiple states to gather signatures. The insider added that several more campaign events will be announced soon, including one in New York.
West, who paid the $35,000 registration fee to get on the ballot in Oklahoma, will need several more states to be able to reach the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the nation’s highest government post. At this time, there are only 306 electoral votes available in states where the filing deadlines have yet to pass.